How is content access control and user permissions managed in government knowledge bases built with DITA?

Managing content access control and user permissions in government knowledge bases built with DITA is critical to safeguard sensitive information and ensure that only authorized personnel can access specific documentation.

Role-Based Access Control

One common approach is to implement role-based access control (RBAC). In DITA, this can be achieved by defining roles and associating them with specific users or user groups. Each role has predefined permissions that determine what actions a user can perform within the documentation system. For example, an administrator role might have full access and control over all content, while a regular user role may have read-only access to certain sections. DITA allows for the assignment of roles and permissions at various levels, such as topics or maps, providing granular control over who can view, edit, or publish content.

Conditional Processing

Conditional processing in DITA allows for content to be displayed or hidden based on certain conditions, including user roles or attributes. For government documentation, this means that specific content can be made accessible only to users with the appropriate permissions. For example, sensitive or classified information can be tagged with conditional attributes that restrict access to authorized personnel only. This ensures that content remains confidential and compliant with security protocols.


Here’s an example illustrating how role-based access control can be implemented in DITA:

<topic id="access_control">
  <title>Access Control</title>
  <role name="administrator">
  <role name="user">

In this DITA topic, role-based access control is defined, with roles “administrator” and “user” having different levels of access permissions. This is just one way to manage access control and user permissions in government knowledge bases built with DITA.