What strategies are used for maintaining and updating indexes as DITA content evolves?

Maintaining and updating indexes as DITA content evolves is crucial to ensure that the index accurately reflects the content’s current state. Several strategies can be employed to accomplish this, allowing organizations to keep their indexes up-to-date and relevant.

Automated Indexing

One effective strategy is to utilize automated indexing tools and processes. These tools can be configured to periodically scan the DITA content repository for changes and additions. When new topics or updates are detected, the indexing tool can automatically generate or update index entries based on predefined criteria. This automation reduces the manual effort required to maintain indexes and helps ensure that they remain in sync with the evolving content.

Review and Validation

Regular review and validation of indexes are essential to maintain their accuracy. Content authors and indexers should periodically review the index entries to identify any discrepancies or outdated terms. This review process allows for the removal of obsolete entries, correction of errors, and the addition of new terms that may have emerged in the content. Collaboration between subject matter experts and indexers can help ensure that the index reflects the most relevant and current terms.

Version Control

Implementing version control for both DITA content and indexes is another effective strategy. By associating index versions with specific content versions, organizations can track changes over time and maintain historical indexes. This approach ensures that older versions of content are associated with the corresponding index, preserving the context and relevance of the indexed terms even as new versions of the content are created.


Here’s an example of a version-controlled index associated with DITA content:

<index version="1.0">
  <entry term="Topic A" link="topic_a.dita" />
  <entry term="Topic B" link="topic_b.dita" />
  <entry term="Topic C" link="topic_c.dita" />

In this example, the index is associated with version 1.0 of the DITA content. As the content evolves and new versions are created, the index can be updated and versioned accordingly to maintain accuracy.