Observations at CMS/DITA NA

The Mu (2)

David Muir is the ID Tools and Technology manager for IBM. He works in the same Corporate User Technologies department that originally created DITA and now advocates for it in the open standards community.

His blog is called The Mu and this blog is an offshoot of that.

Last week in Santa Clara, the Content Management Strategies conference was held. This year, CIDM added "DITA North America" to the name. The CMS/DITA NA conference brought together a wide variety of practitioners and managers in the structured technical information arena.

There are a great many enterprises still struggling today with the issues that drove the original design of DITA for IBM. It is interesting to see the various ways they attempt to solve them. I was struck by what I would call the "all-roads-lead-to-DITA" thought. People had experimented in various ways with approaches to create reusable chunks of information (topics), organize them independently (maps), extend them into new information domains (specialization), and continue to share them with everyone in their supply chain (generalization).

Having arrived at "the DITA conclusion", people continue to evaluate how to deal most effectively with the best ways to manage the content, find it, build it, and deploy it. These are the automation and integration steps on the DITA Maturity Model (level 4). I think this is the level most people at the conference had reached.

Very few people seem to have advanced into semantic interchange or even using DITA in feeds. Semantics on demand and a universal semantic ecosystem are the "Holy Grail" levels (5 and 6) of the DITA Maturity Model, but -- not surprisingly -- it looks like even the early adopters will take a while to get there. Exciting times lie ahead.
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