How are image libraries and catalogs managed in DITA?

In DITA, image libraries and catalogs are managed through references within DITA topics and the use of resource management systems. These libraries serve as repositories for reusable images, illustrations, or graphics, making it easier to maintain and update images across multiple documents.

Image libraries and catalogs in DITA are a structured way of organizing and reusing images across documentation. Managing them involves image repositories, reference in DITA topics, resource management systems, and consistency and efficiency.

Image Repository

An image library typically contains a collection of images, illustrations, or graphics that can be used in various documents. These images are stored in a central location, making it easier to manage and update them.

Reference in DITA Topics

Within DITA topics, images are referenced from the library by specifying their location or identifier. This reference can be a file path or URL to the image within the library. By referencing images, duplicating them is avoided in different documents, which can lead to version control and consistency issues.

Resource Management Systems

Many organizations use resource management systems or digital asset management (DAM) tools to maintain image libraries. These systems provide version control, metadata management, and the ability to organize images into categories or collections.

Consistency and Efficiency

Managing images in this way ensures consistency across documents. If an image in the library needs an update or modification, it can be done centrally, and all documents referencing that image will automatically reflect the changes. This is particularly valuable for organizations with large or complex documentation sets.


A manufacturing company that uses DITA for its product documentation has a central image library for technical illustrations of their products. When creating a new manual for a product line, the writers simply reference the relevant illustrations from the library within their DITA topics. If there are updates or improvements to the illustrations, the changes are made in the library, ensuring that all documents using those images are automatically updated. This approach streamlines their documentation process and maintains consistency in visuals across all manuals.