Can authors create custom DITA specializations within their content?

Yes, authors can create custom DITA specializations within their content to meet their specific documentation needs. Here’s how this can be accomplished:

Define Specialized Elements: Authors can define custom elements that are not part of the standard DITA vocabulary. These elements should be documented and follow a consistent naming convention to ensure clarity and consistency.

Use Attributes: Authors can also create custom attributes for specialized elements. These attributes can be used to provide additional metadata or information specific to the organization’s content requirements.

Document Specializations: It’s crucial to document these custom specializations in a separate document or schema. This documentation should specify the purpose of each element, its intended use, any associated attributes, and guidelines for authors on how to use them effectively.

Training Authors: Authors should be trained on the custom specializations to ensure they understand how to use them properly. Training may include examples, best practices, and demonstrations of how the specialized elements and attributes should be integrated into their content.


Suppose an organization wants to create a custom specialization for marking content as “important.” They might define a custom element <custom-important> with an attribute level to indicate the level of importance. Here’s how authors can use this custom specialization:

<!-- Using a custom DITA specialization for marking content as important -->
This is highly important content.
This is moderately important content.
This is less important content.