Example: Key scopes and omnibus publications

Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Version 1.3 Part 1: Base Edition

OASIS DITA Technical Committee

Key scopes enable you to create omnibus publications that include multiple submaps that define the same key names for common items, such as product names or common topic clusters.

In this scenario, a training organization wants to produce a deliverable that includes all of their training course materials. Each course manual uses common keys for standard parts of the course materials, including "prerequisites," "overview", "assessment", and "summary.

An information architect creates a root map that contains the following markup:

<map xml:lang="en">
  <title>Training courses</title>
  <mapref href="course-1.ditamap"/>
  <mapref href="course-2.ditamap"/>
  <mapref href="course-3.ditamap"/>
  <topicref href="omnibus-summary.dita"/>

Each of the submaps contain topicref elements that refer to resources using the keyref attribute. Each submap uses common keys for standard parts of the course materials, including "prerequisites," "overview", "assessment", and "summary", and their key definitions bind the key names to course-specific resources. For example:

<map xml:lang="en">
  <title>Training course #1</title>
  <mapref href="course-1/key-definitions.ditamap"/>
  <topicref keyref="prerequisites"/>
  <topicref keyref="overview"/>
  <topicref keyref="assessment"/>
  <topicref keyref="summary"/>

Without using key scopes, the effective key definitions for the common keys resolve to those found in course-1.ditamap. This is not the desired outcome. By adding key scopes to the submaps, however, the information architect can ensure that the key references in the submaps resolve to the course-specific key definitions.

<map xml:lang="en">
  <title>Training courses</title>
  <mapref href="course-1.ditamap" keyscope="course-1"/>
  <mapref href="course-2.ditamap" keyscope="course-2"/>
  <mapref href="course-3.ditamap" keyscope="course-3"/>
  <topicref href="omnibus-summary.dita"/>

The information architect does not set keys="summary" on the topicref element in the root map. Doing so would mean that all key references to "summary" in the submaps would resolve to omnibus-summary.dita, rather than the course-specific summary topics. This is because key definitions located in parent scopes override those located in child scopes.