OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) TC

The Charter for this TC was modified on 4 September 2008 as balloted at http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/ballot.php?id=1518; this change was announced at http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/tc-announce/200809/msg00002.html

The original Call For Participation for this TC may be found at http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/tc-announce/200403/msg00016.html

The charter for this TC is as follows.

Name of the TC:

OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Technical Committee

Statement of Purpose:

The purpose of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee (TC) is to define and maintain the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) and to promote the use of the architecture for creating standard information types and domain-specific markup vocabularies.

DITA is specializable, which allows for the introduction of specific semantics for specific purposes without increasing the size of other DTDs, and which allows the inheritance of shared design and behavior and interchangeability with unspecialized content.

More specific semantics allow

  • more automatable processes
  • more consistent authoring
  • better retrievability
  • better applicability to specific groups

The work of this TC will differ from similar efforts such as DocBook because of

  • broader scope, inasmuch as DITA applies to more areas than just technical manuals
  • more specific scope, inasmuch as DITA applies to topic-oriented information rather than all technical manuals


The TC will create specifications for the Darwin Information Typing Architecture suitable for submitting for balloting by OASIS membership for OASIS standard status.

DITA is an XML-based specification for modular and extensible topic-based information. DITA provides a model for defining and processing new information types as specializations of existing types.

DITA populates the model with an extensible hierarchy of standard types. DITA encourages reuse by reference either of topics or of fragments of topics. DITA topics

  • can be assembled in different combinations for many deliverables or output formats
  • are optimized for navigation and search
  • are well suited for concurrent authoring and content management

Through use of a common specification, DITA content owners can benefit from industry support, interoperability, and reuse of community contributions. At the same time, through specialization, content owners can address the specific requirements of their business or industry.

This committee builds upon the foundation established by the work of IBM on DITA.

The tasks of the TC include

  • To articulate the principles of the DITA architecture through formal specifications
  • To assess the relationship of DITA specialization to emerging XML standards (such as the ontology initiatives associated with the Semantic Web)
  • To define appropriate enhancements of the architecture
  • To standardize the information types in the DITA type hierarchy
  • To encourage interoperability within and between the various topical domains of potential DITA users. It is anticipated that, in addition to the common information elements provided in the base specification, specific communities of users may develop additional, specialized type hierarchies of particular relevance to their use cases. The TC may choose to recognize new information types or domain specializations where a new specialization provides a standard solution for a well-established need, has broad support, does not conflict with existing types, and serves as a useful base for additional specialization. For example, the concept, task, and reference information types do so for the user assistance community. The TC anticipates maintaining a set of core information types of general utility, implemented in schema languages (such as DTD or XML Schema) selected by the TC. Recognized types may also be maintained by other groups (including other OASIS TCs).
  • To design a generic methodology for specialized extensions of the base specification by user communities. This methodology may address issues such as delivery of a reference implementation, operation of a public registry for specializations, suggested guidelines for development of a user community's information types, and so forth. When the above tasks are completed, the TC may reconsider further work, which will be defined as allowed by the OASIS TC Process.
  • Appoint one or more individuals to act as liaisons between the DITA TC and the DITA Adoption TC who will be responsible for notifying the DITA Adoption TC of upcoming internal reviews for DITA TC deliverables; ensure that the DITA Adoption TC has timely access to these internal reviews; and ensure that any comments from members of the DITA Adoption TC are brought to the DITA TC prior to any vote to release deliverables for public review.
  • Prior to any vote that releases deliverables for public review, the DITA TC will provide a response to any comments received from the DITA Adoption TC.

List of Deliverables:

The DITA specification consists of:

  • a formal definition of the rules for creating new structural and domain specializations through specialization, and integrating them into document types.
  • the DTDs and XML Schemas for standardized structural and domain specializations.
  • usage and reference information to support the base DITA elements and their standardized specializations.

The TC will support the development of specialized extensions of the DITA specification, including documentation of the process required to create and validate new specializations for specific user communities, and review of specializations contributed to OASIS. The TC may also provide a specification for a standards-based public registry or repository for such DITA specializations or a method for creating or federating such resources.

The TC will consider the creation of subcommittees where there is an immediate interest in developing specialized extensions, but it is also anticipated that such extensions could be adopted locally and informally within specific information exchange communities.

Anticipated Audience:

  • Writers of other specifications that could benefit from DITAs specialization model or other aspects of its architecture;
  • Vendors offering XML authoring or development products;
  • XML architects and developers who design and write XML applications;
  • Information developers and information architects