DITA Case Study: The Joseph Smith Papers Project

Track: Case Studies, Core Technologies, End-User Applications

Audience Level: High Level/Technical view

Time: Thursday, November 17 16:00

Author: Eric Severson, Flatirons Solutions Corporation

Keywords: DITA, TEI, Specialization, Case Studies, Text Encoding, Publishing, Workflow


Brigham Young University, in cooperation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and assisted by Flatirons Solutions, is in the midst of an ambitious project to XML-encode all of the historical papers of LDS founder Joseph Smith. Starting with Joseph Smith’s journals, the encoded XML is being used to produce both high-quality printed books, and to build a sophisticated online repository for scholarly research. Even though DITA was designed for technical documentation, it was selected for this project because of its ability to create a flexible set of information objects that can be re-purposed across many potential uses and contexts. For example, a daily entry in one of Joseph Smith’s journals, together with scholarly annotations, can be treated as a set of specialized DITA topics. This whitepaper illustrates how the content was encoded in a TEI specialization of DITA, including an analysis of the applicability and limitations of DITA specialization techniques. It also shows how this XML fit into the complex workflow associated with scholarly encoding efforts.