What is specialization in DITA?

Specialization in DITA is the process of extending or customizing the standard DITA schema to create your own topic types, elements, and attributes tailored to your specific content needs. It allows you to define and structure content in a way that precisely aligns with your organization’s requirements, making DITA even more flexible for structured content authoring. Specialization allows:

  • Customizing Content Types: Specialization enables you to define new types of DITA topics beyond the standard concept, task, and reference. These custom topics can be designed to represent unique content types specific to your industry or domain. For example, in the medical field, you might create specialized topics for medical procedures or drug descriptions.
  • Adding Elements and Attributes: With specialization, you can introduce new XML elements and attributes to DITA topics. Elements are the building blocks of topics, while attributes provide additional information about elements. This allows you to capture and present information that may not be covered by the standard DITA schema.
  • Tailoring Metadata: You can customize metadata attributes to include information relevant to your content. For example, you can add metadata fields for compliance information, version history, or audience targeting. This enhances content management and helps with content categorization and retrieval.
  • Content Control: Specialized DITA schemas give you finer control over how content is structured and formatted. You can define rules and constraints that guide authors in creating content according to your organization’s standards. This ensures consistency in content creation and presentation.
  • Documentation and Consistency: Properly documented specializations are essential. Documenting your specialized DITA schema clarifies its purpose, rules, and usage, making it easier for content authors to understand and adhere to the customization. It also ensures that the schema remains consistent and maintainable as your content evolves.