Using Tags as Lightweight Metadata in DITAToo DITA CMS

Having your content stored in a central repository is good as long as you can find what you need quickly and easily.

There’re a number of approaches to organizing content for easy retrieval. One of them is using metadata. Some organizations may have complicated taxonomies with multiple levels. While there is no question that supporting these complex metadata is important, in many cases, you may need something easier to use and maintain.

You can think of tags as lightweight metadata. Tag is a short descriptive label that you assign to a file (whatever it is – a DITA topic, map, image, or any other non-DITA file). A tag can represent whatever you want it to represent: product line, product model, release, information type, subject, you name it. Once files are tagged, you can search and filter by tags.

We’ve recorded this short video to show you how you can use tags to organize content stored in the DITAToo DITA CMS repository.

(YouTube Video): 

Single Source All Your Content

The authoring, editing and publishing workflow does not have to be disrupted.

In the Technical Communication (TechComm) Industry, we have been promoting single sourcing your content workflow for a while now. What we mean by single sourcing is that source content should be authored and edited in one universal format that eventually gets published in its various output formats like HTML5, PDF, ePub, Mobile Applications, etc. You should never edit the published content directly. If a change is required to the published content, the source should be updated and republished.

This sounds good in principle, but sometimes you need variations of the same content for different publication types. The best way to handle that is by using XML with metadata for conditional publish, managed in a Component Content Management System (CCMS) with Release management and Workflow capabilities. All XML structures are not the same, so which one should you standardize your organization’s content on? Standardize is the key. Using the popular XML Standard that is built from its foundation for content reuse and customization is the right step. That XML Standard is DITA.

If you buy off on this logic, you should have a few open questions.
Can more than Technical Communication Content be single sourced? How about Market and Sales Content?

How do we convert our existing content to the DITA XML Standard without disrupting our current authoring and publishing cycle? Without TechComm, Marketing and Sales Content most products can not be sold.

I heard Component Content Management Systems (CCMS) are very expensive. How do I create an ROI case for purchase? Worse yet, what if we simply do not have the budget for an expensive CCMS? Does that stop us from being able to Single Source our content in the DITA Format? The short answer is that there is a DITA CCMS vendor that is disrupting the current market. Their CCMS costs less than $1,000 for the server license and one user license. Now you can afford to pilot an XML DITA implementation. Prove out the Return Of Investment with real data. The low Total Cost Of Ownership also makes reaching the ROI numbers your Senior Managers require easier. That CCMS is DITAToo HTTP:\\ Full disclosure I am an equity partner in the firm the owns DITAToo.

When it comes to … can DITA XML content being used to create Marketing Content? Visit my Companies Website at The complete website is published from DITA topics tied together by a master DITAMAP.

If you are interested in discussing anything about this, please feel free to reach out to me at

DITAToo Free 60 Day Evaluation

DITAToo Promo

Starting today until the end of May, Adobe Framemaker users will be eligible for a free 60-day evaluation license of DITAToo DITA CMS. Plus a 15% discount off the list price of DITAToo if purchased within the 60-day trial period. If you are thinking of acquiring a CMS or looking to switch to a different one then this is the promotion for you. DITAToo is already an ultra affordable DITA CMS solution you can trust so why not try it out for free and see what all the hype is about?


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