Are there recommended workflows for coordinating indexing efforts among writers, editors, and subject matter experts?

Recommended workflows for coordinating indexing efforts among writers, editors, and subject matter experts (SMEs) are essential for maintaining a structured and effective process when creating and updating DITA indexes. These workflows help ensure that index entries are accurate, consistent, and relevant to the content. Here’s an overview of the workflow:

Step 1: Identification of Index Terms

Writers identify terms and concepts within DITA content that should be indexed. They compile a list of these terms, including their locations within the content.

Step 2: Review and Refinement

Editors review the list of index terms provided by writers. They refine the list by standardizing terminology, ensuring consistency in style, and validating the relevance of each term to the content.

Step 3: SME Validation

SMEs, who are experts in the subject matter or industry, validate the index entries. They ensure that technical terms and industry-specific terminology are correctly indexed and provide valuable insights into the relevance of the terms to the intended audience.

Step 4: Iterative Feedback

Throughout the process, iterative feedback loops are established to address any discrepancies or disagreements regarding index entries. These loops involve collaborative discussions to reach a consensus on the final index content.


Consider a team creating a DITA index for a software documentation project. Writers identify terms such as “user interface,” “API documentation,” and “code samples” within the content. Editors review the list, standardize the terminology, and ensure consistency. SMEs, who are software experts, validate the entries to ensure their accuracy and relevance to the software context.

<!– Example of a DITA index workflow –>

  <title>Software Documentation Index</title>
    <primary>User Interface</primary>
    <primary>API Documentation</primary>
    <primary>Code Samples</primary>

In this example, the workflow ensures that the DITA index is well-coordinated and contains relevant and accurate terms for the software documentation.