Publish iiRDS packages from DITA-XML with the new plugin for DITA-OT

by Martin Fiebig on May 08, 2024

You can now publish iiRDS packages from DITA-XML based on existing metadata. A new free plugin for the DITA Open Toolkit (DITA-OT) developed by the iiRDS consortium makes this possible. Any content management system and CCMS using the DITA-OT can now generate iiRDS packages.

© iiRDS Consortium


DITA-XML is a well-established authoring standard. It is well structured, customizable, and well supported by an open-source toolkit, the DITA Open Toolkit DITA-OT. You can use DITA-OT to create HTML, PDF, and many other output formats from your DITA files. Single-source publishing is one of the core ideas of DITA and DITA-OT.

The separation of information into topic types and XML as the foundation makes DITA well suited for today’s technical communication needs. With microcontent as the new gold standard, DITA allows the authoring of granular information that feeds content delivery portals, chatbots, and AI-based scenarios such as retrieval-augmented content generation.

You can learn DITA at your own pace with free courses at learningDITA.

About iiRDS

iiRDS is an open standard that enables delivery and exchange of intelligent information across company boundaries. iiRDS defines a metadata model that includes both standard metadata and metadata that can be customized to meet the needs of a product or company. iiRDS-compliant content is delivered in packages, which are containers with a predefined directory structure. The packages contain the content in any format, e.g. HTML, and the associated metadata as an RDF file. 

What the new plugin does

With the DITA-OT plugin you can create iiRDS packages from your DITA-XML sources. HTML format is used for the content.

The plugin first uses the regular pre-processing of the DITA files by the DITA-OT. It then reads the metadata from the DITA topics and DITA maps and creates an RDF file. Even if there is no explicit (iiRDS) metadata in the source files, the RDF file is still created. Default values are set for some metadata, for example, "iirds:OperatingInstruction" for "iirds:DocumentType".

Finally, the plugin creates the directory structure for the iiRDS package based on the DITA map and generates the HTML output format for each topic. Then, the iiRDS package is created. It contains the HTML topics for the content and the RDF file for the metadata.

Customization possible

You can customize the plugin to meet product or company specific requirements. For example, you can change the layout of the publication, add additional pre-processing steps, or use custom metadata mapping, for example, to read metadata from specific elements or attributes of the DITA-XML source and map it to iiRDS.

You can also customize the generation of unique identifiers (IRIs) to include your own values.


Download the plugin and its documentation here for free.

Learn even more

Mark Schubert and Martin Kreutzer (Empolis) introduce the plugin at the tcworld-E-Magazine.

Ulrike Parson and Marion Knebel presented the plugin as part of the webinar "Publishing with iiRDS from DITA" at the Society for Technical Communication on March 26, 2024.

Ulrike Parson and Marion Knebel present the DITA-OT plugin at the Society for Technical Communication

Marion Knebel, Senior Technical Communicator at parson, offers a more technical approach at the DITA-OT Day 2024: "Publishing with iiRDS from DITA".

Marion Knebel's presentation of the  DITA-OT plugin at the DITA-OT day in Helsinki, Finland

Are you interested in creating technical documentation with DITA XML? Learn more

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