DITA for Technical Standards Publishing

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From the Cover Pages: XML Daily Newslink for 2008-10-14, there is announcement that the OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Technical Committee has formed a new subcommittee.   The DITA for Technical Standards Subcommittee has the ambitious purpose of furthering and promoting DITA use for the creation, maintenance, and support of technical standards specifications.  The idea is to have a “common standard for the creation and publication of … technical standards specifications:” 

“The first effort will be to assess and define common requirements for the maintenance and publication of technical standards.  This will provide the common requirements for the specific capabilities that DITA should provide.  Finally, the group will create necessary enhancements to DITA standards and deliverables, including the DITA Open Toolkit with a Toolkit for Technical Specifications.”

There is more in the announcement of subcommittee formation on the (semi-official?) DITA online community site.  The official subcommittee operation is to be set up on the OASIS DITA TC page.

I’m not sure that this has any near-term benefit, but it does arouse my interest in another way.  I am finding it very difficult to wrap my head around the current and in-progress OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Office Open XML (OOXML) specifications.  I need some way to wrestle out my understanding in a way that allows me to surface a conceptualization of the functions of either in a way that their reconciliation at the Harmony Principles level can be grasped and described in some useful way.

DITA surfaces on my radar from time to time.  It is something I think I should know more about.  I don’t know how to apply it in the context of standard document formats, nor am I clear how it is applicable to the conceptualization and expression of document-format standards.  It does strike me that some help is needed, based on my early efforts in the analysis of ODF specifications.   (At this point, concept-mapping software might be even more useful, and I will look into that as well.)

It is time to dig deeper into DITA to see how it can support a harmonization effort with regard to office document formats and their harmonizable specification.

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