Can DITA maps be specialized to meet specific documentation needs?

DITA maps can be specialized to meet specific documentation needs by creating custom map specializations that extend the standard DITA map structure. Specializations allow organizations to tailor the map structure, metadata, and elements to align with unique documentation requirements.

Customizing DITA Maps with Specializations

DITA maps can be specialized to address specific documentation needs or industry requirements.

Specialization Constraints

Specializations are typically defined in a Document Type Definition (DTD) or a Schema, which constrain the map structure to adhere to specific requirements. Organizations can define custom elements, attributes, or metadata that are specific to their industry or domain.

Custom Metadata

Organizations can add custom metadata elements to capture information that is unique to their documentation, such as industry-specific classifications, standards, or compliance criteria.

Custom Elements

Custom elements can be added to the map structure to accommodate specialized content sections or navigation requirements.


A medical device manufacturer specializes their DITA map for regulatory compliance in medical documentation.

<!DOCTYPE map PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DITA Map//EN" "map.dtd">
  <title>Medical Device Documentation</title>
  <compliance-level>FDA 510(k)</compliance-level>
  <topicref href="introduction.dita" />
  <topicref href="device-overview.dita" />
  <topicref href="regulatory-guide.ditamap" />

In this example:

  • The DITA map is specialized for “medical-device” documentation.
  • Custom metadata elements like <compliance-level> are added to capture information related to regulatory compliance, in this case, compliance with the FDA 510(k) standard.
  • The map structure can be tailored to include specific sections and topics that address medical device documentation requirements, such as regulatory guides and safety procedures.