How do you organize DITA maps for different types of publications?

To organize DITA maps for different types of publications, authors create map specialization. This involves developing map templates tailored to specific publication types, each with its own structure and ordering of topics, enabling efficient content organization and reuse.

Organizing DITA Maps with Map Specialization

Organizing DITA maps for different publication types involves map specialization. This process allows authors to define map templates, or “shell” maps, that are customized for specific types of publications, such as user guides, reference manuals, or tutorials. These templates include a predefined structure and ordering of topics suitable for the intended publication. Map specialization simplifies the content creation process by providing a consistent framework, ensuring that topics are organized and presented consistently across different documents.


An organization uses two map specialization templates for a software documentation project, one for user guides and another for reference manuals.

User Guide Template

<!DOCTYPE map PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DITA Map//EN" "map.dtd">
  <title>User Guide</title>
  <!-- Define the order and structure of topics for user guides -->
  <topicref href="introduction.dita" />
  <topicref href="installation.dita" />
  <topicref href="operation.dita" />
  <topicref href="troubleshooting.dita" />

Reference Manual Template

<!DOCTYPE map PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DITA Map//EN" "map.dtd">
  <title>Reference Manual</title>
  <!-- Define the order and structure of topics for reference manuals -->
  <topicref href="overview.dita" />
  <topicref href="configuration.dita" />
  <topicref href="api-reference.dita" />
  <topicref href="appendices.dita" />

In these examples, two map specialization templates are created. The first template is designed for user guides and organizes topics related to user instructions, while the second template is for reference manuals, organizing topics for in-depth technical reference. Authors can then use these templates as a foundation to build specific publications, ensuring that the structure and organization align with the intended type of document.