Can organizations customize metadata display in DITA outputs?

In DITA outputs, organizations can customize metadata display to control how metadata is presented to users. This is essential for presenting metadata in a user-friendly and informative manner.

Organizations can achieve this through XSLT transformations, metadata templates, content control, and stylesheets.

  • XSLT Transformations: DITA outputs are often generated through XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) processes. Within these transformations, organizations can define how metadata is displayed.
  • Metadata Templates: Metadata display is typically defined in templates that specify how metadata elements are rendered in the output. These templates can be modified to change the appearance and location of metadata.
  • Content Control: Organizations can control which metadata is displayed in different output formats. For example, metadata that is crucial for a PDF document may differ from what’s necessary for a web-based HTML output. Customization allows tailoring metadata presentation to the specific format.
  • Stylesheets: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) can be applied to format and style metadata elements to match the overall design of the output, ensuring a consistent and visually appealing display.


A software company uses DITA for its documentation. The company provides user manuals for its software, and it wants to customize metadata display to enhance the user experience in various output formats.

In this case, the organization can:

  1. Customize XSLT transformations to control how metadata elements are rendered. For a PDF manual, the organization may choose to display metadata in a sidebar or header, while for online HTML help, it may opt for a more compact display at the bottom of each topic.
  2. Create metadata templates that define the order and style of metadata elements. For example, they can specify that the publication date and product version are presented prominently at the beginning of each topic in a PDF manual, while these details may appear at the bottom in HTML output.
  3. Utilize CSS to ensure metadata elements are visually consistent with the overall design. For example, they can apply specific fonts, colors, and spacing to metadata text, ensuring it integrates seamlessly with the rest of the content.

By customizing metadata display, the organization ensures that metadata is presented in a way that is visually appealing and contextually relevant to the specific output format. Users accessing content in different formats will have an optimal experience, with metadata tailored to their needs.