Gartner Research

Content Reuse: DITA, XML, and Other Ways to Keep from Reinventing the Content

Published: 06 December 2007

ID: G00203383

Analyst(s): Guy Creese


Enterprises must reuse digital content, recombining it in different ways for different audiences. Otherwise, they're duplicating work, creating inconsistent documentation, and making readers wade through irrelevant information. This overview by Senior Analyst Guy Creese discusses technologies such as Extensible Markup Language (XML), Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA), XML Query (XQuery), and search as ways to turn this "write once, generate many different views" goal into reality. Enterprises that generate higher quality information at a lower cost than competitors will ultimately prevail, and content reuse is key in reaching that goal.

Table Of Contents



  • What Is Content Reuse?
  • Why Is Content Reuse Important?
    • Decreases Costs: Lowers Creation and Delivery Costs
    • Improves Accuracy: Increases Content Accuracy and Consistency
    • Increases Agility: Supports Faster Content Repackaging
    • Decreases Noise: Delivers Only Necessary Information
  • Content Reuse Has Been Done Before: With SQL and SOA
    • A Replay of SQL: Just 20 Years Later
    • Service Oriented Architectures
  • An Excellent Example of Content Reuse: DITA
  • Content Reuse Drivers
    • Increasing Number of Delivery Channels
    • Increasing Number of Content Creators
    • Increasing Awareness of Different Content Consumer Types
  • Content Reuse Enablers
    • XML and Affiliated Standards
    • Standardized Ontologies and Taxonomies
    • Improved Search
  • Examples of Content Reuse
    • Cross-Media Examples
    • Media Type Examples
  • Business Requirements for Content Reuse
    • Ability to Split the Content into Logical Chunks
    • Ability to Find Existing Content
    • Diversity of Content Delivery Channels and/or Consumers
  • Organizational Requirements for Content Reuse
    • Working to “Chunk” Content
    • Adopting a Standard Ontology and Writing Style
    • Agreeing to Use a Common Content Creation Standard
  • Market Analysis
    • Market Sectors
  • Recommendations
    • Embrace XML
    • Understand Audiences
    • “Componentize” Content
    • Standardize Ontologies
    • Standardize the Writing Style
    • Standardize Maps
    • Improve Findability
    • Educate Workers on the Benefits
    • Start with a Pilot

The Details

  • History of Content Reuse
    • Print Content Reuse
    • Digital Content Reuse
    • The Current State
  • XML
  • Three Major XML Standards for Technical Documentation
    • S1000D
    • DocBook
    • Darwin Information Typing Architecture
  • Two Major XML Standards for Documents: ODF and Open XML
    • Open Document Format
    • Office Open XML
  • XQuery
  • Ontologies, Taxonomies, and a Common Understanding
  • Search and Findability
  • Microformats



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