Technical content: Document and information types

Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Version 1.2

The Technical Content package contains five topic specializations that support seven document types: concept, reference, general task, strict task, machinery task, glossary entry, and glossary group. These topic types are specialized from the base topic and are designed specifically for information that describes how to use products and processes they are dominated by procedural, task-oriented information. The Technical Content package also includes the map document type.

Concept

The concept document and information types provide conceptual information to support the performance of tasks. Concepts may include extended definitions of terms, expositions of background information, descriptions of systems and objects, and other content that helps to build the users' understanding of the tasks to be performed.

Reference

The reference document and information types provide for the separation of fact-based information from concepts and tasks. Factual information may include tables and lists of specifications, parameters, parts, commands, and other information that the users are likely to look up. The reference information type allows fact-based content to be maintained by those responsible for its accuracy and consistency.

Task (strict task)

The task document type provides procedural information to support the performance of a task. The task document type implements the strict task content model from DITA 1.0 and 1.1 by combining the new general task (task) information type and the new Strict Taskbody constraint. This information model provides detailed semantics to encourage authors to label standard parts of the task, including pre-requisites, sufficient conceptual information required to perform the task, the commands that introduce each step in a procedure, additional support information required to understand a step, the result of performing the task, and examples that demonstrate the performance of the task.

General task

The general task document and information types are new to DITA 1.2. They provide a less strict task model for task-oriented information than was available in DITA 1.0 and 1.1. The general task model may be preferred over the strict task model by some organizations. It can facilitate the migration of legacy task content that does not follow the strict task topic model. The general task information type serves as the base for the strict task and machine-industry task document types, can be used to create new document types, and can be a base for new structural specializations.

Unfortunately, for historical reasons and to maintain compatibility with DITA 1.0 and 1.1, the names used for the various task components can be confusing:

  • General task is the name for the general task document type
  • Task is the name for the strict task document type
  • Task is also the name for the general task information type
  • Task is the name of the specialized topic tag in the general information type which is used in the strict task, general task, and machine-industry task document types

Machinery task

The machinery-task document type is new to DITA 1.2 and is built by combining the general task information type with the Task Requirements Domain and the Machinery Taskbody Constraint. It provides procedural information, similar to other task types, and has a well-defined semantic structure to meet the special requirements of organizations that develop instructional material for industrial equipment, such as industrial products like trucks, mining machinery, and automobiles. The machine-industry task requirements domain adds several new descriptive elements in the preliminary requirements (prelreqs) and closing requirements (closereqs) sections.

Glossary entry

The glossary entry (glossentry) document type replaces the glossary document type of DITA 1.1. It provides for the development of glossary topics that define terms, acronyms, and abbreviations. It may also contain terminology information.

Glossary group

The glossary group (glossgroup) document type, new in DITA 1.2, allows authors to incorporate multiple glossary entries in a single collection tile.