How are custom metadata elements documented in DITA specialization?

Custom metadata elements in DITA can be documented using specialized DITA topics, such as reference topics or glossary topics. Documenting custom metadata elements ensures that users, content creators, and developers have clear and consistent information about the purpose, usage, and attributes of these custom metadata elements.

Documenting Custom Metadata Elements

Documenting custom metadata elements in DITA involves creating specialized documentation that provides detailed information about these elements. The key steps and considerations are:

Choose Documentation Type

Decide on the type of documentation to use for custom metadata elements. Common choices include:

  • Reference Topics: Reference topics are used to document specific elements or attributes. They provide structured information about each element, including its name, description, attributes, and usage examples.
  • Glossary Topics: Glossary topics are suitable for documenting metadata elements when they are used as terms or concepts within the content. They provide definitions, explanations, and contextual information.
  • Custom Topics: Custom topic types can be created which are tailored to the organization’s documentation needs. These topics should be well-structured and follow DITA standards.

Document Element Attributes

For each custom metadata element, document its attributes, if applicable. Include details such as attribute names, data types, allowed values, and any special considerations for attribute usage.

Provide Descriptions

Clearly describe the purpose and usage of each custom metadata element. Explain why the element is needed, what kind of information it should contain, and how it should be used within DITA content.

Include Examples

Offer practical examples that demonstrate how to use the custom metadata elements in DITA documents. These examples should illustrate typical scenarios and best practices.

Specify Metadata Values

If certain metadata values are predefined or recommended for each element, specify these values in the documentation. This helps ensure consistent usage.

Address Localization

If custom metadata elements have language-specific variations or considerations, document these aspects, including any language-specific attributes or behaviors.


    <title>Custom Metadata Element: &lt;custom-keywords&gt;</title>
    <shortdesc>Documentation for the custom metadata element &lt;custom-keywords&gt;.</shortdesc>

            <author>John Doe</author>
            <keywords>metadata, custom element, documentation</keywords>

            <p>The &lt;custom-keywords&gt; element allows you to specify keywords related to the content. Keywords are useful for search engine optimization (SEO) and content categorization.</p>

                <tgroup cols="2">
                    <colspec colname="col1" colwidth="40%" />
                    <colspec colname="col2" colwidth="60%" />
                            <entry>The custom metadata element for keywords.</entry>

            <title>Usage Example</title>
                <keyword>&lt;custom-keywords&gt;</keyword>: SEO, metadata, categorization
            <p>In this example, the &lt;custom-keywords&gt; element is used to specify keywords relevant to the content.</p>

This reference topic provides comprehensive information about the custom metadata element <custom-keywords>, including its purpose, attributes, and a usage example. It can be part of the organization’s documentation set to guide content creators in using custom metadata elements effectively.