Do you markup your content?

Does your content have metadata?

There are basically three kinds of XML and each has some associated metadata.

The three XML levels are Style, Structure, and Semantics

  • The outer style/presentation layer has the formatting and layout information. This is done with XSLT (eXtensible Stylsheet Language - Transformation) and even with CSS.
  • The structure layer has the content model, which is in the DTDs (Document Type Defintions) and XSDs or Schemas. (In FrameMaker, structure is part of the EDD).
  • The semantic layer contains tags that identify elements by what they are and mean rather than by their styling.

Three layers of XML


The value of semantic metadata has been questioned as full-text search engines like Google are able to retrieve 80-90% of what typical users are looking for.

The business value of metadata is delivering that final 10-20%. And your customers may not be typical. If you are doing millions of dollars in business, an additional 10% in sales will easily cover the cost of developing structured content with semantic metadata.

The DITA standard already specifies a good deal of metadata, and other standards like Dublin Core should be part of your implementation. But the categorization of content needed to assign the metadata may be costly.

The best solution is to train the content creators and provide an easy "click-to-tag" user interface to the metadata. The alternative is to have the metadata editors upstream in the workflow alongside reviewers and approvers of content.

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