What is the <source> element used for in DITA metadata?

The <source> element in DITA is used to include or reference the source content from which a DITA topic or document was derived. It serves as a means to indicate the original source or authorship of content, which can be valuable for documentation, attribution, and reference purposes. The <source> element allows content creators to specify the origin or provenance of the information presented in a DITA topic.

The <source> element involves source attribution, content referencing, and attribution transparency.

Source Attribution

The primary purpose of the <source> element is to attribute the source of the content. It can be used to specify where the content was obtained or originated from. This is particularly useful when content is adapted or reused from external sources, such as books, articles, or other documents.

Content Referencing

The <source> element can contain references or citations to the original source, which can include details such as the title, author, publication date, and source location (e.g., URL or publication name). This referencing helps readers locate the source for further information or verification.

Attribution Transparency

Including the <source> element in DITA topics ensures transparency and integrity in content creation. It clearly indicates when content has been borrowed or adapted from other sources, promoting ethical content practices.


            <title>Benefits of Renewable Energy</title>
                <title>Renewable Energy: A Sustainable Solution</title>
                <author>Jane Smith</author>
                <p>Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, offer significant environmental benefits.</p>
                <p>According to <citation><sourcecite><source>The benefits of renewable energy</source> by <author>Jane Smith</author></sourcecite>, these sources reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a cleaner environment.</citation></p>