!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: The Maturity Model for DITA

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Maturity Model for DITA

As a follow-on to yesterday's post dealing with DITA (the Darwin Information Typing Architecture), I'd like to call attention to a white paper (pdf) explaining how an organization can adopt DITA incrementally.

(click to enlarge)

DITA Maturity Model
(JustSystems [pdf])

The above graphic shows the six levels that Michael Priestley (IBM) and Amber Swope (DITA Strategies), authors of the white paper, define for gradually expanding the scope of an organization's implementation of DITA.

Level 1: Topics — Migrate existing XML content to DITA — using the appropriate topic type for each chunk of information — in order to establish a single source for each topic. "You can easily generate the same information in multiple formats by specifying a different output type when you publish."

Level 2: Scalable reuse — Enable flexible reuse of information by using maps to assemble each deliverable, such as a manual or a Web page. "Because each map is specific to a deliverable, you can optimize the content to include the organization of the content and the links between the topics for each deliverable type."

Level 3: Specialization and customization — Achieve quality and consistency by defining the content types required to meet different author and audience needs and specifying how to meet those needs using structured, typed content. "In addition to creating new structural standards, organizations may choose to customize transforms to provide customized output deliverables, such as training materials or data sheets."

Level 4: Automation and integration — Adopt a full content model by explicitly defining the different types of content required to meet different author and audience needs, and specifying how to meet these needs using structured, typed content. "Organizations need a CMS [content management system] to effectively control and automate the content development life cycle. In addition to storing content and providing versioning control, the CMS provides workflow automation support that assists authors in creating, reusing, and publishing. ... In addition, you need to define a robust metadata model to support the content model and apply it to all topics. Lastly, you must have agreed-upon content development processes in order to automate them with workflow control."

Level 5: Semantics on demand — Achieve dynamic personalization by using DITA as a cross-application, cross-silo tool. "This ... becomes a strategy that covers every source of semantic data or content: DITA becomes the common currency between semantic applications. Data can be exposed as DITA maps; structured or semi-structured content can be exposed as DITA topics at various levels of specialization; and unstructured content such as PDFs, images, or multimedia files can be wrapped using DITA maps to provide a common interface for associating and storing titles, descriptions, and metadata."

Level 6: Universal semantic ecosystem — Achieve universal knowledge management. "DITA becomes the semantic interchange standard for cross-organization, cross-standard, universal content use. ... [O]rganizations that make the move to DITA become part of a semantic ecosystem that enables information sharing and collaboration where and when it’s required, without expensive infrastructure negotiations."

You can read a Q&A with Priestley and Swope, in which they talk about the ABCs of the DITA Maturity Model, here. Note that Priestley and Swope acknowledge that Levels 5 and 6 are pretty much aspirations at the moment. Even Level 4 implementation of DITA is infrequent, so far.


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