Can organizations define their own content models for DITA maps?

Organizations can define their own content models for DITA maps by creating custom Document Type Definitions (DTDs) or Schemas. These content models establish the rules, structures, and constraints that guide the creation and organization of DITA maps according to the organization’s specific requirements.

Custom Content Models

The ability to define custom content models for DITA maps allows organizations to tailor the structure, elements, and constraints to their unique documentation needs.

Custom Document Type Definition (DTD) or Schema

Organizations create custom DTDs or Schemas that define the content model for their DITA maps. These documents specify the elements, attributes, relationships, and constraints that are valid for their documentation.

Element Definitions

In the DTD or Schema, custom elements and attributes are defined to capture organization-specific content and metadata requirements. These elements can be industry-specific, content type-specific, or metadata-specific.

Validation and Compliance

DITA authoring tools that support the custom DTD or Schema ensure that the DITA maps created by content authors conform to the organization’s content model. This helps maintain consistency and compliance with the organization’s documentation standards.


A technology company creates a custom content model for its DITA maps to meet its documentation needs.

Custom DITA Map Content Model (custom-dita-map.dtd)

<!ELEMENT map (title, custom-section*)>
<!ELEMENT custom-section (title, topicref*)>
<!ELEMENT title (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT topicref (#PCDATA)>

In this example:

  • The custom DTD, “custom-dita-map.dtd,” defines a content model for DITA maps. It includes elements like “map,” “custom-section,” “title,” and “topicref.”
  • The “map” element must have a “title” and can contain zero or more “custom-sections.”
  • Each “custom-section” must have a “title” and can contain zero or more “topicref” elements.