How are DITA maps integrated with individual topics?

DITA maps are integrated with individual topics through a referencing mechanism. A DITA map acts as a container for organizing and linking individual topics, ensuring a structured and navigable document.

DITA Maps as Organizational Framework

DITA maps serve as the organizational framework for individual topics. This integration is achieved through referencing mechanisms within the DITA map. Each topic within the map is referenced using the <topicref> element, specifying the location of the topic and any additional metadata. This allows the DITA map to assemble and structure content by referencing topics, which may exist as separate DITA files.

Integration with Individual Topics

DITA maps serve as the top-level organizational structure for DITA-based content. They act as a container or roadmap, pulling together individual topics to form a coherent document. These individual topics can be on various subjects, such as chapters, sections, or stand-alone pieces of information. The integration is achieved through referencing mechanisms within the DITA map.

Referencing Mechanism

The primary mechanism for integrating topics into a DITA map is the <topicref> element. This element allows referencing and including individual topics within the map. Here’s how it works:

<topicref> Element

The <topicref> element is used to reference a DITA topic. It typically includes the following attributes:

  • href: This attribute specifies the location (file path) of the DITA topic that should be included in the map.
  • keys: Keys can be used to assign metadata, such as product-specific information, to the referenced topic. This is useful for conditional processing or specialization.
Conditional Processing

Conditional processing attributes, like conref and conkeyref, can be used within the <topicref> element to conditionally include or exclude topics based on criteria like product or language.


A DITA map integrates the individual topics by referencing them with <topicref> elements. This referencing mechanism allows the map to organize, structure, and link the topics, creating a cohesive and navigable document.

  <title>User Manual</title>
  <topicref href="introduction.dita" />
  <topicref href="chapter1.dita" />
  <topicref href="chapter2.dita" />
  <!-- Additional topic references... -->