<glossdef>: How do you structure and present the definition of a glossary term using the <glossdef> element in DITA?

The <glossdef> element in DITA is used to structure and present the definition of a glossary term. It allows you to provide a clear and concise explanation or description of the term defined by the <glossterm> element. Properly structuring and presenting glossary definitions is essential to ensure that readers can easily understand and reference the information.

Structuring Glossary Definitions

When using the <glossdef> element, you should follow these guidelines to structure glossary definitions effectively:

  1. Clear Explanation: Start with a clear and concise explanation of the term. Use plain language that is easy for readers to understand. Avoid technical jargon or unnecessary complexity.
  2. Examples (If Applicable): If the term requires examples to illustrate its usage or meaning, include them. Examples can help readers grasp the concept more easily.
  3. Contextual Information (If Needed): In some cases, you may need to provide contextual information or additional details to enhance understanding. This might include related concepts, historical background, or practical applications.


Here’s an example of how the <glossdef> element can be used in DITA to structure and present glossary definitions:

<glossentry id="xml">
    <p>Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable.</p>
    <p>XML is widely used in various applications, including data exchange between different systems and the creation of structured documents such as web pages and configuration files.</p>

In this example, the <glossdef> element contains a clear explanation of the term “XML,” along with additional contextual information about its usage and applications.