The metadata elements, many of which map to Dublin core metadata, are available in topics and DITA maps. This design enables authors and information architects to use identical metadata markup in both topics and maps.
The <metadata> element is a wrapper element that contains many of the metadata elements. In topics, the <metadata> element is available in the <prolog> element. In maps, the <metadata> element is available in the <topicmeta> element.
In DITA maps, the metadata elements also are available directly in the <topicmeta> element. However, it is recommended to use the metadata elements available in the <metadata> element, as it better supports reuse between topics and maps. Collections of metadata can be shared between DITA maps and topics by using the conref or keyref mechanism.
In general, specifying metadata in a <topicmeta> element is equivalent to specifying it in the <prolog> element of a referenced topic. The value of specifying the metadata at the map level is that the topic then can be reused in other maps where different metadata might apply. Many items in the <topicmeta> element also cascade to nested <topicref> elements within the map.
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OASIS DITA Version 1.2 -- OASIS Standard, 1 December 2010
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