Gunthilde Sohn, instinctools GmbH

In November 2011,The Center for Information-Development Management organized the seventh annual Content Management Strategies/DITA Europe conference in the historic center of Prague, the capital of Czech Republic.

This event offered a great opportunity for the participants to gain insights into effective implementation of topic-based information management through experts who presented their experiences, complex challenges and innovative, successful solutions.

While in former DITA events, most talks centered around the principles of DITA/topic-oriented documentation and how organizations were starting and succeeding with first projects, in this event, it became clear that the topic-oriented approach has become a mature, highly adopted standard in most industries. Many interesting use cases and successful implementations, also going beyond technical documentation, along with some motivating ideas around DITA were presented.

We had an educating experience in learning how SAP Education migrated their training content to DITA, which business objectives they want to achieve with their Modular Multi-Modal Content Production Project and which challenges they are facing in meeting their commitment to DITA for their product documentation.

Chris Kravogel shared his DITA-based project for drug-labeling documents and NXP semiconductors showed how they improved an internal website by rearranging it to be more task based with the DITA concept in mind, thereby receiving a lot of positive feedback for the change. In ITT Fluid Technology, translation cost and lead time was reduced by more automated updating of manuals in the case of user interface text string change.

For those moving to DITA from a book oriented traditional environment, Dorthe Sonne’s (Siemens Wind Power) and Keld Jellesen’s (advice2u) contribution would be very helpful. Tips and tricks on how to avoid “DITA Spaghetti” were provided by Jang Graat in a very witty presentation.

IBM’S Sophie McMonagle gave an insight of their CICS software documentation with DITA and explained the benefits they incur from keyref implementation.

Don Day and Kristof Van Tomme shed some light on the relation between DITA and Social Media. Jonatan Lundin presented the usage of SeSam for making DITA content findable. Other related subjects like optimizing translation processes, working with metrics to ensure the creation of important content, and the advantages of evolving content scenarios completed the agenda.

Throughout the entire event, interested parties were able to obtain information and demos on DITA related products and services at the vendors’ stands.

After long days packed with exciting new information and a comprehensive presentation schedule, the vibrant city of Prague offered a great opportunity of recreation. Whether it was visiting the beautiful historic center, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, including Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, the Prague Castle and the Jewish Quarter, or enjoying the hearty Bohemian cuisine and great Czech beer or shopping for typical souvenirs like the famous Bohemian glass, Bohemian garnet or string puppets—there was something “on the agenda” for everybody.

About *instinctools:
*instinctools delivers software and services in the areas of custom Eclipse and Java development, consulting and implementation of single-source solutions with DITA and content management projects. With DITAworks, *instinctools provides an integrated authoring platform for modeling, authoring and publication of complex documentation. *instinctools has over ten years of experience in the successful implementation of innovative software solutions and is a member of the Eclipse Foundation and tekom. More information is available at: and