DITA 101

The DITA OASIS Standard defines an XML architecture for designing, writing, managing, and publishing technical documentation in print and on the Web. DITA (commonly pronunced dit'-uh) builds content reuse into the authoring process for document creation and management.

Topic-Based Authoring

Focusing on a common topic model as a conceptual unit of authoring, DITA provides a core set of topic types derived from concept, task, reference, troubleshooting, and glossary. DITA defines a specialization mechanism for extending markup to represent either new topic types or new domains of markup common across sets of topic types. DITA maps can combine topics into various kinds of deliverables. Content can be shared among maps or topics. Class-based processing ensures new specializations can be supported with existing tools, speeding the testing and adoption of new designs.

With DITA, all content is inherently reusable. That's because DITA's strength lies in a unified content reuse mechanism that enables an element to replace itself with the content of a like element, either in the current topic or in a separate topic that shares the same content models.

Supporting Multiple Deliverables and Publishing Channels

DITA enables organizations to deliver content as closely as possible to the point-of-use, making it ideal for applications such as integrated help systems, web sites, and how-to instruction pages. DITA's topic-oriented content can be used to exploit new features or delivery channels as they become available.

DITA enables highly automatable processes, consistent authoring, and enhanced applicability to specific industries. Content owners benefit from industry support, interoperability, and reuse of community contributions. At the same time, content owners address the specific needs of their business or industry.


DITA can be used to...

  • Enable effective information management
  • Improve information authoring models
  • Reuse content in different combinations for a variety of deliverables
  • Create online information systems, such as User Assistance (help) and learning modules (training)
  • Design minimalist books for easier authoring and use

Get Involved

DITA is advanced by the OASIS DITA Technical Committee. Its members include representatives of:

  • Comtech Services
  • IBM
  • JustSystems Canada
  • Oberon Technologies
  • PTC

...and other XML tools vendors, consultants on Information Architecture and Content Management Systems (CMS), and users.

Participation remains open to all organizations and individuals. A wide variety of membership levels and rates are offered to ensure all those who are affected by DITA have a voice in its development. See Join OASIS or contact member.services@oasis-open.org for details.


XML.org Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
OASIS sites: OASIS | Cover Pages | XML.org | AMQP | CGM Open | eGov | Emergency | IDtrust | LegalXML | Open CSA | OSLC | WS-I