What is specialization in the context of DITA maps?

Specialization in the context of DITA maps refers to the process of extending or customizing the standard DITA map structure to meet specific documentation requirements. It involves defining custom elements, attributes, and metadata to create a map specialization that aligns with unique content and organizational needs.

Exploring Specialization in DITA Maps

Specialization in DITA maps allows organizations to tailor the map structure to their specific documentation needs. This specialization can include custom elements and attributes, content tailoring, and metadata customization.

Custom Elements and Attributes

Specialization involves defining custom elements and attributes in a Document Type Definition (DTD) or Schema that extend the standard DITA map structure. These custom elements can be specific to the organization’s industry, content types, or metadata requirements.

Content Tailoring

Organizations can create specialized maps by adding, modifying, or removing sections and elements to align with their unique documentation needs. This enables content creators to structure their maps in a way that best serves their audience and content.

Metadata Customization

Metadata can be customized to capture additional information, such as industry-specific classifications, compliance details, or any other metadata relevant to the organization’s domain.


A software company specializes a DITA map for a developer documentation project.

<!DOCTYPE map PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DITA Map//EN" "map.dtd">
  <title>Developer Documentation</title>
  <!-- Custom specialization attributes -->
  <!-- Custom map structure for developer documentation -->
  <topicref href="introduction.dita" />
  <topicref href="api-reference.ditamap" />

In this example:

  • The DITA map is specialized for “software-dev” documentation, indicating a specialization for developer-focused content.
  • Custom attributes like <version> and <audience> capture specific information relevant to developer documentation, such as the software version and the target audience.
  • The map structure can be tailored to include specific sections and references, like “api-reference.ditamap,” which is common in developer documentation.