eXact learning solutions’ white paperAn Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture(DITA) and its benefits ...
An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)Consequently, the cut and paste approach is           ...
An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)Why a new standard for education                      ...
An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)traditional publishing mechanisms can be kept         ...
An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)Word and HTML. IBM encouraged authoring               ...
Document (File) An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)                                      ...
An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)    and formatting content according to the           ...
An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)               Single source                          ...
An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)Adopting a single-source-enabled LCMS                 ...
An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)Output channels                                       ...
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DITA XML content standard


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DITA XML content standard

  1. 1. eXact learning solutions’ white paperAn Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture(DITA) and its benefits for technical training & documentationA new XML content standard for blended online, mobile and instructor-led technical training and documentationThe importance of Structured organizations obtain the majority of theirContent Management in technical input materials from a wide variety of sources. Typically, these include engineering,training design and marketing departments – all ofTo compete in a demanding market, which use different file formats and differentmanufacturing and engineering companies content packaging and exchange standardsmust deliver information and training to their such as DocBook, ePub, IETM or S1000D.workforce and their clients wherever andwhenever required. These formats are also different from those commonly used within learning and trainingThis is driving smart instructional designers to tools where we typically find SCORM, IMS andcreate compelling training materials that can AICC.handle the increasing complexity and blendingof technical training formats, from instructor- This lack of a common interoperabilityled sessions to web-based training, mobile standard restricts the type of documents thatlearning and beyond. training departments can receive from their technical counterparts to simple formats suchInstructional designers who create technical as Word, PDF and HTML.training courses in large engineering,manufacturing and process-based ~1~ © eXact learning solutions 2012
  2. 2. An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)Consequently, the cut and paste approach is The DITA specification encourages greaterstill the most commonly used strategy in flexibility in learning documentationproducing technical documentation for online publishing and reuse by organizing digitaltraining delivery. This results in high levels of materials and documents into small, tightlycontent replication, low levels of content re- focused ‘topics’, specialized by subject areause and the high costs of engaging subject or vertical market.matter experts (SMEs) in never-ending proof-reading cycles. Each topic can be organized and linked into a variety of different publications. This is inRecognizing these inefficiencies, contrast to formats such as ePub and DocBookorganizations need an improved where a piece of information is sealed into ainteroperability format to ease the flow of book or a chapter, where it cannot easily beinformation between knowledge hubs and to reused.foster content reuse across departments. DITA working groups have released manyDITA XML: a solution for technical “specializations” relevant to a variety oftraining industries including semiconductors, machinery and language translation. DITA’sThe new Darwin Information Typing contribution to learning reached a milestoneArchitecture (DITA) (http://dita.xml.org) in late 2011 with the release of the newLearning & Training specialization addresses specialization for Learning & Trainingthe gap between technical documentation Documentation.and training. It brings new life and contentinteroperability across and within eXact learning solutions has always beenorganizations managing large volumes of active within the communities which developtechnical documentation and training learning standards, such as ADL, SCORM andmaterials and rapid production cycles. IMS. As a result of a recent upgrade, the award-winning eXact LCMS and eXact MobileThe standard is issued by OASIS, the US- platforms now support XML DITA contentheadquartered global consortium for open authoring and management, in addition to thestandards in the Information Society, which other learning standards (such as SCORM, AICCaims to boost the convergence of technical or IMS Common Cartridge).and training documentation withinengineering and process oriented industries, DITA’s features offer a significant return onincluding the semiconductor, automotive, investment for organizations because contentfinancial, pharmaceutical, translation and reuse and structured writing significantlydefense industries. reduce the time needed for authoring and content production.In common with other XML standards DITAclearly separates information content frompresentation style, but its innovation is in theclever use of object orientation andspecialization within XML typing. ~2~ © eXact learning solutions 2012
  3. 3. An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)Why a new standard for education scenarios that the same organizations need toand publishing? implement. A better interoperability strategy and a solution to diverse and dispersedRich media and mobile learning are important knowledge hubs within the organization areto any manufacturing and engineering the right answers to those needs.organization supporting its workforce withjust-in-time training and performance Benefits of a “multi-source/output”support. strategy An effective “multi-source/output” approachThe production, management and delivery of is essential for organizations to:effective and up-to-date training materialscan be extremely complex. Getting it out • Reduce the cost of the whole set of‘right’ and getting it out on time are the most training-related processes in theeffective ways for training departments to organizationhelp their companies compete globally. • Create and maintain large and structured product documentation in a cost-effectiveIn planning their contents for technical way, reducing time and cost of knowledgetraining, instructional designers receive up to transfer between SMEs (Products and90% of input materials from very different Services, IT) and knowledge consumerssources, typically tied to product engineering (Sales and Marketing, Customer Care)and design departments and often in formats • Protect the IP of knowledge andthat are not directly compatible with learning documentation, avoiding duplication ofand training tools. content across the different channels I don’t want to write, review, through which it circulates during the translate, and repurpose the same production of documentation, training content multiple times! ,, materials and marketing messages • Explore new ways to deliver content other than via printed materials but still driveTo date, content duplication and repeated everything from the same source;creation have often been the only ways to • Enable a competency-based system for thecope with the misalignment. This introduces allocation of courses for each disciplineopportunities for errors and relies on based on students’ gaps and learningexpensive and time consuming content review goals.and proof reading phases to correct them. Italso makes content re-use hard to achieve. In short, “multi-source/output” provides fullyThis increases costs for content production blended knowledge and learning processes atand repurposing across the different units of a reasonable cost.an organization. This level of complexity ismainly due to the ineffective answers that The publishing market has identified, in DITAsome publishing standards and technologies - the standard modality to structurecurrently in place in most organizations - documentation in a way that makes “singleprovide to “multiple source – multiple output” source - multiple output” a reality and ~3~ © eXact learning solutions 2012
  4. 4. An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)traditional publishing mechanisms can be kept and developed precepts for ‘programmed- while also addressing new media and new learning’ that required learning materials todistribution channels. be segregated into ‘chunks’. In the mid- 1960s, Robert Horn developed informationAbout DITA mapping techniques. Common ‘informationDITA builds content reuse into the authoring types’ were identified in standard documentsprocess. It defines an architecture for such as user manuals, annual reports, policydesigning, writing, managing and publishing and procedure manuals. Identifying standardinformation in print and on the Web. information types is at the heart of DITA.The standard is advanced through an open In March 2001, IBM introduced DITA as a seriesprocess by the OASIS DITA Technical of developer Works articles about a newCommittee, a group that encourages version of XML for documentation. DITA wasparticipation from developers and users. an attempt to make a simplified XML starter set for documentation mark-up - one designedDITA’s features are based on decades of from the outset to encourage the reuse ofresearch into methods for technical small content components. DITA’s goal was todocumentation. These include modularity, formalize information typing practices, bothstructured writing, information typing, print and online, and also enable anminimalism, inheritance, specialization, extensible typing architecture throughsimplified XML, single-source, topic-based, specialization of base topics. DITA maps wereready-made metadata, conditional a way to standardize collection publishing andprocessing, component publishing, task- information architecture/ outlining models.orientation, content reuse, multi-channel andtranslation-compatibility. In May 2002, IBM added domain specialization to topic specialization and demonstratedHistory these in the Open Toolkit - a referenceDITA traces its conceptual ancestry to before implementation of DITA publishing – thatthe 1960s. In that decade, B.F. Skinner used allows DITA documents to be output in amainframe computers as ‘teaching machines’ variety of common formats including PDF, approved as an OASIS approved as an OASIS approved as an OASIS DITA v1.0 DITA v1.1 DITA v1.2 Standard in May 2005. Standard in August Standard in December DITA Language 2007. 2010. Reference v1.0 DITA Language DITA Specification v1.2 DITA Architectural Reference v1.1 Specification v1.0 DITA Architectural Specification v1.1 Current version of DITA 1.2 specification can be downloaded at: http://docs.oasis-open.org/dita/v1.2/os/spec/DITA1.2-spec.html ~4~ © eXact learning solutions 2012
  5. 5. An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)Word and HTML. IBM encouraged authoring The eXact DITA Editor was launched at thetool vendors to integrate the Open Toolkit as end of January 2012 at Learning Technologiesa means of publishing DITA. 2012, in London, and then at Learntec 2012, in Karlsruhe, Germany. It offers a fully-In April 2004, the Organization for the fledged DITA authoring, management andAdvancement of Structured Information delivery environment. This environment isStandards (OASIS), formed a Technical fully integrated with the SCORM-based onlineCommittee to explore a DITA Standard. The and mobile learning content management andcommittee included tool vendors, information rendering capabilities which are at the core ofand content management consultants and, the eXact LCMS platform –currently installedmost importantly, end users. in over 100 organizations worldwide.In February 2005, IBM donated the Open At the eXact DITA launch Fabrizio Cardinali,Toolkit (OT), a limited version of its internal CEO of eXact learning solutions North AmericaInformation Developers Workbench, to stated: “After DITA’s recent announcement ofSourceForge. IBM continues to develop the a new learning and training materialsOT, which is not a part of the OASIS DITA specification, many corporate CIOs and CLOsStandard efforts. are now asking for DITA compliancy fromFor further details about DITA, visit suppliers. They want to import DITAhttp://dita.xml.org documentation from other departments - and they want to convert and embed it into AICCeXact learning solutions and DITA and/or SCORM packages to be used for online training and within their instructor-led andeXact learning solutions has enhanced its technical training content productioneXact LCMS, to support DITA XML editing and processes. For many years, sophisticatedrendering. This adds technical documentation organisations have found it hard to share andto its single source multiple channel learning re-use content between technical and trainingcontent management architecture. ~5~ © eXact learning solutions 2012
  6. 6. Document (File) An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Assume that content is enclosed in a document (file) that can be of various formats (wrappers of content). Those may comply A1 A1.1 with a number of formats including - but not limited to - PPT, A1.2 Document (File) Word, PDF, XML, XML/DITA, SCO. B1 Such content is organized into sections, indented paragraphs B1.1 B1.2 and so on. B1.3 Chunk (Topic) Let’s assume that A1.1, in the figure on the left, is a chunk - C1 the fragment of content - we want to deal with in this C1.1 presentation and let’s call it a TOPIC. The same applies to B1, C11 and so on. These are all considered chunks (topics). Chunk (Topic) departments. DITA is the solution to the designers and trainers, while requiring problem.” consistency in learning content and technical documents. Implementing a structured content management strategy in eXact LCMS Authoring DITA Native DITA support in eXact LCMS eXact LCMS, the leading solution for Learning complements the overall strategy of Content authoring, management and delivery supporting blended learning and publishing through multiple platforms and delivery through single-source content. channels, recently improved its ability to support authors in the production of multiple A fully blended approach to the production of output materials from one set of source training materials and technical documentation and across a single content documentation is an important success factor production process. in every organization addressing change management at any level. A blended eXact DITA Editor allows training contents and approach guarantees that all stakeholders technical documents to be developed in a have access to the right knowledge anytime, structured and organized way. All information anywhere, regardless of their role in the can be structured into self-contained organization, their duties, their working time information chunks. A chunk (or “Topic”, in and location, and the technology they can DITA terms) encapsulates a single subject, access. and is the smallest piece of information that can stand on its own. A fully blended approach has key advantages for those organizations that aim to reduce the The eXact DITA Editor has been optimized for costs and time taken for creating and DITA authoring, embedding features such as: maintaining training materials and technical documents. It is particularly important when  ‘Word processor-like’ user interface. the process involves multiple delivery Authoring DITA documents is extremely mechanisms and a mixed network of authors , easy, thanks to a user interface which subject matter exports, instructional mimics word processing tools. Structuring ~6~ © eXact learning solutions 2012
  7. 7. An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) and formatting content according to the  Document Structure view. A hierarchical DITA schema is similar to using paragraph outline view of the document is always styles and word formatting in MS Word. available. Authors can expand and Immediate preview. While What-you-see- contract elements like an outline tool, is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) is only move content around and synchronize approximate in the case of XML changes with the main document view. authoring, due to the focus on semantic  Visual DITA Map editing. The topic tagging and multiple output options, the references, arranged in a hierarchy, can final appearance of a DITA document can be changed without looking at the XML easily be accessed through instant export code. to a variety of formats, including SCORM,  Drag and drop structures. Recursive eBook, RTF and PDF formats. aggregation of topics in DITA Maps is as Elements in context. When adding easy as dragging and dropping them into structural elements, such as a new section the tree-representation of the DITA Maps in a DITA topic or a step in a DITA task, under editing. the authoring tool displays a context-  Spell check. Spell check functionalities dependent list of valid elements that can are available and configurable to match be added at the current insertion point in the specific language of each author or the document. document. Dictionaries can be configured Tags-on view. Although they often disrupt to enable customized word lists, ensuring the WYSIWYG look, optional visual that writers use terminology consistently. representations of the start and end tags  Multilingual support. eXact DITA Editor is for structural elements can be helpful, integrated with the powerful content especially to validate content tagging and localization engine of eXact LCMS. ensure re-usability of document structures Exporting, translating and re-importing at a granular level. translation memories (TMX) in standard X- Lorem ipsum dolor Lorem ipsum @ Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, Lorem ipsum dolor consectetur adipiscing elit. sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed Suspendisse a fringilla justo. Proin do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore tempor iaculis turpis et convallis. et dolore magna A1 aliqua. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia A.1.1 nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. A1.2 Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem B1 B1.1 B1.2 B1.3 Lorem ipsum C1 Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna C1.1 aliqua. ~7~ © eXact learning solutions 2012
  8. 8. An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Single source Multiple Output A1 A A 1. MSWord 1. 1 B1 2 PDF (book, handouts, manuals) B1.1 B1.2 B1.3 C1 C DITA MAP 1 B1 1. B1.1 Publication Engine 1 A1 A1 B1.2 A1 .1 B1.3 A1 A .2 D1 A 1. SCO B1 B1.1 D1.1 1. 1 D1.1 B1.2 D1 2 D B1.3 D 1. D1 C1 D1 1. 1 D1 C1.1 2 .1 C1 .2 C1 A .1 A1 A 1. XML DITA MAP 2 1. A1 1 B1 2 B A1.1 B 1. A1.2 SCO (WBT) B 1. 1 B1 LMS, Mobile Delivery) B 1. 2 On-demand B1.1 1. 3 publication Online Help 3 C1 HTML, Portal C1.1 LIFF (XML Language Interchange File available at any time to DITA Authors to Format) is yet another feature made maximize reusability of content and available by eXact LCMS. information across the organization. Open Toolkit (OT) support. eXact DITA Editor uses the open-source DITA OT to Content authored in eXact DITA Editor can be take advantage of plug-ins contributed by easily published to a variety of output formats the DITA community. Additional publishing – choosing, for each delivery channel, the appropriate topics and style for the intended engines can be plugged in to generate additional outputs. platform or device. Once content is ready for delivery, the LCMSLinks and Version Control parses all relevant content through aContent linking and version control of template-based publishing engine (included instructured content has been a feature of the LCMS core system) to produce a variety ofeXact LCMS since its first appearance on the different publications out of a single source ofmarket. The eXact DITA Editor leverages the information chunks, as shown in the figuredynamic linking and version control engine to below:maximize reusability of content and supportdistributed content reviews and controlled Metadata, Workflow and Contentsign-off cycles. management In a distributed organization, differentEvery individual element inside DITA topics authors work on the same content using acan be automatically assigned separate IDs for variety of authoring tools.use in other DITA documents. Reusablecomponents can be managed, reviewed andversioned in eXact LCMS repository and are ~8~ © eXact learning solutions 2012
  9. 9. An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)Adopting a single-source-enabled LCMS LCMS.solution, all of the content can be stored in asingle digital repository. At the same time, any DITA topic or topic aggregation (which in DITA is referred to as aIn addition, they will be split by the LCMS “Map”) can be exported and distributed tointo logical chunks recognized by the system. external DITA-aware systems, leveraging theNow we can really say that they *are* actual high level of interoperability provided by thechunks. By that, we mean that each of them eXact LCMS Service-Oriented Architecture.will have its own: Publishing DITA content to SCORM• Metadata Users of eXact DITA Editor have the unique• Attributes, Tags ability to publish their DITA contents to• Versions SCORM all within a single authoring and• References content management environment. Indeed,• Workflow Status eXact LCMS supports seamless authoring and• Ownership and tasks sharing of content across different kinds of publications, including the world leadingDITA Import/Export template-based authoring features of eXactIn addition to DITA authoring features, eXact Packager and the Online Editor, both of whichLCMS allows you to import any pre-existing are part of the eXact LCMS Suite.DITA publication and chunk it down into itscomponents to maximize the reusability of Publishing DITA content to SCORM is thethe information - starting from high level easiest way to use and reuse technicaltopics (such as manual sections or book documentation in our learning contentchapters) down to the single paragraph or production flow. This reduces the time andimage file. cost of producing interactive learning packages and maximizes the Return onImported DITA documents can be further Investment.authored, aggregated and reviewed using thestandard collaborative tools provided in the ~9~ © eXact learning solutions 2012
  10. 10. An Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)Output channels • Single-source - allows a diversity of stylesThe eXact LCMS architecture shows how, from to be applied to the same data forsingle source content and within a single consistency in content stylescontent production process, DITA supports the • Content Reuse - dont write the sameproduction of a variety of outputs, including: sentence twice. This is one of the principal ways to reduce total ownership• Training Guides – for instructor led costs. training • Structured Writing - reduces authoring• Web-based training courses and course time and increases analysis time components • Task orientation - reduces customer• Roll-Out Guides service calls• Support Guides • Minimalism - improves the end-user• Instructor Guides (for trainers) experience• Online help systems • Specialization - customize topics to fit• Printed / PDF based documentation existing formats• FAQs • Multiple Output Formats - web (HTML),• Tech Support website print (PDF), and online Help• Marketing material (both online, • Multi-channel Delivery - add Mobile with printouts, SMS and eMail notifications) minimum extra development • Simplified XML - greatly reduces theReturn on investment in DITA development cost of Schemas/DTDsBecause the single largest cost for training • Metadata - supports semantic-guidedcontent and technical documentation comes search and conditional processingfrom lifecycle maintenance of the content • Conditional Processing - rapid creation ofand ensuring it is always up-to-date, DITA’s content variations for special needsfeatures offer a significant Return on • Modularity - assemble documents fromInvestment for organizations. manageable chunks • Component Content Management andThese features include: Publishing.• Translation Savings - the top ROI factor for global firmseXact learning solutionseXact learning solutions, formerly Giunti Labs, is a leading online and mobile learning content managementand digital repositorysolutions provider, offering a wide range of tools and services for content development, management and eXact learning solutions - Headquartersdelivery, covering: Abbazia dell’Annunziata• Multi-language bespoke learning content production Via Portobello - Baia del Silenzio• Content management and digital repository platforms 16039 Sestri Levante (GE) Italy• Mobile learning technologies• Consulting and professional services Tel +39.0185.4761The company has over fifteen years of experience and more than 100 clients worldwide. Our technological Fax +39.0185.43.347innovations allow enterprises to improve their organizational performance, and achieve significant reductions www.exact-learning.comin business costs info@exactls.com ~ 10 ~ © eXact learning solutions 2012