Boston DITA User Group

DITA Boston Users Group (ditabug)

The DITA Boston User's Group will be starting up again in 2009. To begin with, there is a new email list for those interested in participating, located at Yahoo with the other DITA lists. To sign up for the group, visit the group page here:

We will be sending a survey to that list soon with proposed meeting topics, so please sign up in order to help us decide what to feature. We will also be looking for companies willing to host a meeting; if you already know you are interested in hosting, or have questions about what is involved, please join the group and send a note to ditabug-owner. The group owners at present are Robert Anderson, Liz Augustine, and Lee Anne Kowalski.

Information about the first meeting will be posted here once it is available.


Future topics

At our May 2007 planning meeting, we developed a list of possible meeting topics. We created an online survey to collect opinions on the most important topics.

Survey results are online at

We will approach potential speakers on the most popular presentation ideas. The most popular topic was Stylesheets. Next were Conditional Processing, Reuse, Relation Tables, DITA CMS, DITA Maps, Publishing, and Help Authoring.

Past meetings

February 12, 2008: Eliot Kimber from Really Strategies gave a Specialization in Real Time Tutorial:

Eliot created a topic specialization for a valentine.

Eliot has now given his real-time specialization tutorial to DITA user groups in Austin, TX and Boulder, CO, and Boston.

We videotaped Eliot. You can see the video at

And we attached his Powerpoint presentation.

We would like to thank  Endeca Technologies for hosting our meeting.


October 18, 2007 Amber Swope of Justsystems presented the latest story on Bookmaps in DITA 1.1. We held our meeting one evening at the DocTrain East 2007 conference, who kindly provided us with a meeting room.

September 10, 2007 Jay Dupont and Paula Ploetz described a pilot project at PTC to create user manuals with DITA. Tom Kenslea introduced them. Here are screen recordings with audio. Introduction (6 min.) Jay DuPont Presentation (15 min.) Paula Ploetz Presentation (15 min.)


June 12, 2007 Neil Perlin discussed DITA for non-technical authors. David Pearson described development of a technology planning tool. And Susan Czerepak showed her Eclipse Help project - a DITA Manager User Guide on DITA Users.

May 14, 2007 John Hunt described the work of his Learning Content subcommittee, which is defining a new topic-level information type to facilitate training and eLearning with DITA

April 10, 2007: Anna van Raaphorst and Dick Johnson, of VR Communications and authors of the DITA Open Toolkit User Guide and Reference, presented "Setting the Stage: Creating DITA Projects That Will Scale Up."

March 27, 2007 : Amber Swope – Working with Bookmaps. David Pearson arranged a DITA Users Birds of a Feather dinner meeting during JoAnn Hackos' CM Strategies conference.

March 12, 2007: Bob Doyle (with David Pearson) demonstrated the new DITA Users website ("DITA from A to B"). The site lets absolute beginners edit DITA files and process them with the DITA Open Toolkit online. The results can then be seen on the web and downloaded.

February 2007: Judy Kessler of Sybase presented "Making the Business Case for DITA." Her slides are attached below. Notes on her talk are at

January 2007: Nancy Harrison of IBM spoke on content migration. Notes on her talk are at

November 2006: Deb Boczulak, product manager at XyEnterprise, spoke about reuse. A video recording of her talk is being edited.

October 2006: Doug Gorman, CEO of Information Mapping, Inc., spoke about "Making DITA Ubiquitous." Slides are attached below.

September 2006: Dave Schell of IBM spoke about the business case for DITA. His presentation slides are attached below.

Bob Doyle


DITA Specialization is the means by which the standard DITA language may be extended for new semantic or structural roles.  

Specialization may be used to introduce new map types, information types, or domains. An example of a map specialized for a specific application is the Bookmap specialization provided as part of the OASIS DITA 1.1 Standard. An example of a topic specialized for a particular role is message specialization (provided as a msgref plugin of the DITA Open Toolkit). An example of a community-prescribed domain specialization is the hazard domain proposed for DITA 1.2 by the Machine Industry Specialization Subcommittee of the OASIS DITA TC. 

Besides those specializations created as OASIS Standards under the auspices of the OASIS DITA Technical committee, specializations have also been created as community plugins for the DITA Open Toolkit and as file uploads at sites such as the Yahoo! dita-users forum.  In addition, many companies have developed specializations that are used internally, and sometimes shared by arrangement with business partners. Finally, some businesses have developed specializations that represent internal business process or workflows; these are usually trade secret assets of those businesses.  However, all follow the same methodologies, which means that all such DITA content is interchangeable and (with the appropriate DTDs and processing overrides) interoperable in processing with other content producers or publishers.

 Other examples of popular specializations include:

Specializations may support particular subject matter areas, such as:

A comprehensive description of a specialization would include, directly or via links:

An example of a specialization with all these components that works as a plugin of  the DITA Open Toolkit is the music specialization.

See also: