Are there conventions for linking defense terminology definitions within DITA content?

Linking defense terminology definitions within DITA content follows a structured approach to ensure that readers have easy access to detailed explanations and expanded definitions when encountering specific terms or acronyms. DITA provides conventions for effectively linking terminology definitions within DITA content, enhancing clarity and understanding.

A common convention is to use the DITA <termref> element to link to the definition of a term or acronym. For example, when defining the term “RPG” (Rocket-Propelled Grenade), a <termref> element can be used within the content to link to its definition. This allows readers to click on the term to access its full meaning, improving comprehension.

Furthermore, to maintain control and consistency in linking terminology definitions, DITA also provides a way to define centralized glossaries and terminology databases. In this centralized location, terms are defined along with their detailed explanations. Content references are then used within the content to reference these centralized definitions. If a term’s definition changes, it only needs to be updated in one central place, and all instances are automatically updated, ensuring consistent and accurate definitions.


Consider the term “CBRN” (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) in defense documentation. A <termref> element is used to link to its definition. In the centralized glossary, the definition of “CBRN” is provided, and content references are used to reference this definition throughout the content.

<!-- DITA centralized glossary for "CBRN" -->
<glossentry id="cbrn-definition">
  <glossdef>Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear</glossdef>

<!-- DITA content reference for "CBRN" -->
<p>The <termref href="#cbrn-definition"/>< threats require specialized protective measures.</p>

By following these conventions, defense organizations can ensure that their documentation includes effective links to terminology definitions, improving comprehension and documentation quality.