Can content be repurposed by changing its topic type?

Yes, DITA content can be repurposed by changing its topic type. However, care must be taken to ensure that the content meets the standards of its new topic type.

DITA allows content to be structured and authored independently of its presentation or output format. This means that the same content can be reused and repurposed for different needs by changing its topic type. For example, content initially authored as a concept topic can be repurposed as a task topic or reference topic with some adjustments.

Due to the specialized nature of DITA topics, it is particularly bad practice to simply change the topic type and assume the content is still fine. A concept cannot be converted into a task by simply changing its type. Due to the different purposes of each topic type, extensive restructuring of the content will be required to convert contextual or explanatory information into actionable instructions (in this example).

Example: Repurposing Content

An organization has documentation for a software product, and a portion of that documentation explains how to install the software using a “concept” topic:

        <!-- Concept Topic -->
            <title>Software Installation</title>
                <p>Software installation involves...</p>
                <!-- Explanation content -->

To repurpose this content as a “task” topic for a step-by-step installation guide, the organization can transform it like this:

        <!-- Task Topic -->
            <title>Software Installation</title>
                    <step>Download the software installer.</step>
                    <step>Run the installer and follow on-screen instructions.</step>
                    <!-- Procedural steps -->

The organization maintains consistency in terminology and content while changing the topic type to suit different documentation needs. This flexibility is especially valuable for content reuse and ensuring that information remains accurate and up-to-date across various contexts.