Concept topic

Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Version 1.2

The DITA concept document type uses the concept information type. Concept topics are specialized from the base topic information type. They include the standard topic elements, including the short description, prolog, a body, and related links.

The purpose of the concept information type

Concepts provide background that helps readers understand essential information about a product, a task, a process, or any other conceptual or descriptive information. A concept may be an extended definition of a major abstraction such as a process or function. Conceptual information may explain the nature and components of a product and describe how it fits into a category of products. Conceptual information helps readers to map their knowledge and understanding to the tasks they need to perform and to provide other essential information about a product, process, or system.

The structure of the concept topic

The concept topic is specialized from the base topic information type. The top-level element for a DITA concept topic is the <concept> element. Every concept topic contains the standard topic elements, including title, short descriptions or abstract, prolog, a body, and related links.

The <conbody> element holds the main body-level elements of the concept topic. Like the body element of a base topic, the <conbody> allows paragraphs, lists, tables, figures and other general elements. It also provides two key elements that allow authors to subdivide the topic into parts, with or without titles. These subdivisions are called sections and examples. The <conbody> also allows <bodydiv> and <sectiondiv> to facilitate grouping elements in the <conbody> for reuse.

Limitations within <conbody>

The <conbody> provides for an unlimited number of subdivisions in the form of sections and examples. However, once an author decides to incorporate a section or example in the <conbody>, only additional sections or examples are allowed. Sections and examples may not nest, meaning that only one level of subdivision is permitted in the concept topic.

Concept body primary subdivisions

<section>
Represents an organizational division in a concept topic. Sections organize subsets of information within a larger topic. You can only include a simple list of peer sections in a topic; sections cannot be nested. A section may have an optional title.
<example>
Provides examples that illustrate or support the current topic. The <example> element has the same content model as <section>.

Following is an example of a simple concept topic. Note that once an example is used, it may be followed only by another example or by a section.

<concept id="concept">
 <title>Bird Songs</title>

<shortdesc>Bird songs are complex vocalizations used to attract mates or defend territories. 
<conbody>
  <p>Bird songs vary widely among species, from simple songs that are genetically imprinted to complex songs that are learned over a lifetime.</p>
  <example>
   <p>Flycatchers know their songs from birth:</p>
   <ul>
    <li>Flycatcher songs are simple sequences of notes.</li>
    <li>Flycatcher songs never vary but are unique to each member of the Flycatcher family.</li>
   </ul>
  </example>
 </conbody>
</concept>

Modules

The following DITA modules are provided for the concept topic:

  • concept.mod, concept.ent (DTD)
  • conceptMod.xsd, conceptGrp.xsd (Schema)