How is content reuse managed during the review and approval process in DITA?

Several features of DITA make content reuse easy to manage during the review and approval process. DITA’s modular structure and mechanisms like conref and keys make it possible to streamline reviews and approvals while ensuring consistency and accuracy in reused content.

These features include:

  • Modular Content: DITA encourages the creation of modular and reusable content components, such as topics and key definitions. These modules can be reviewed and approved independently.
  • Conditional Text: DITA supports conditional text, which allows content to be included or excluded based on conditions. During review, conditions can be applied to ensure that only specific variations of reused content are considered.
  • Conref and Keyref: DITA provides conref (conditional referencing) and keyref (key referencing) mechanisms. These enable content references to be replaced or resolved during the publishing process. Reused content can be reviewed in context, knowing that it will be dynamically integrated with the referencing topics when published.
  • Content Keys: Key definitions are reviewed and approved separately. This ensures consistency across all instances where a particular key is used. If an update is required, it can be made in the key definition, and the changes will propagate to all instances where that key is referenced.
  • Review in Context: When reviewing content that contains reused elements, reviewers can examine how the reused content fits into the surrounding context, even if the reused content is managed separately. This helps maintain content coherence.


A technical documentation team is working on user manuals for a product in a DITA-based environment:

Modular Content Creation: The team creates modular DITA topics for various aspects of the product, such as installation, troubleshooting, and usage instructions. These topics are designed for reuse across different manuals.

Review Process: During the review process, the team members can focus on specific topic modules. For example, the installation team reviews the installation-related topics independently, while the troubleshooting team reviews troubleshooting topics.

Conditional Text: In cases where the same information is reused with slight variations, conditional text is applied. For example, different versions of the product may require specific installation steps. Reviewers check the conditional content for correctness.

Key Definitions: The team maintains key definitions for common terms, acronyms, or product names used throughout the documentation. These keys are reviewed and approved separately to ensure consistent usage.

In-context Review: While reviewing a chapter or section that includes reused content, the team can evaluate how the reused information integrates with the local context, making sure it flows naturally.