DITA 101: Learning the Ropes on Content Reuse

Summary: DITA 101: Fundamentals of DITA for Authors and Managers (2009), by Ann Rockley, Steve Manning, and Charles Cooper, explains the open XML standard “that defines a common structure for content that promotes the consistent creation, sharing, and reuse of content.” According to Scott Abel, the book is “simple, easy to understand, and loaded with practical examples.” A free chapter is available for your review.

For technical communicators seeking to understand DITA, DITA 101: Fundamentals of DITA for Authors and Managers (2009), by Ann Rockley, Steve Manning, and Charles Cooper, is the book for you. DITA, more formally known as the Darwin Information Typing Architecture, is an open XML standard “that defines a common structure for content that promotes the consistent creation, sharing, and reuse of content” (p. 2). In his foreword to the book, The Content Wrangler‘s Scott Abel summarizes the timeliness and importance of this book, to the wider field of technical communication:

The advent of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and rapid adoption of topic-based content standards like DITA have forced us to separate content from format and end our addiction to desktop publishing. Today, technical communicators must learn to write modular, topic-based, context-independent content, using a new breed of authoring tools.

Abel recommends this book  as “simple, easy to understand, and loaded with practical examples that resonate with technical communicators”—an assessment which my initial review of the first few chapters, so far confirms. The free chapter, “Reuse: Today’s best practice” describes the benefits of reusing content as

  • Reduced development, review, and maintenance
  • Reduced cost of translation
  • Increased consistency
  • Rapid reconfiguration of modular content

For additional helpful resources, see The Rockley Group and dita101.com.

 

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