Introducing book-level change history to topic metadata

In DITA 1.1 with the introduction of the bookmap came a new block of metadata used to track book change history. The markup is deep, expansive, and semantically well-constructed. The <bookchangehistory> element is a member of <bookmeta> and contains information about the history of the book's creation and publishing lifecycle, who wrote, reviewed, edited, and tested the book, and when these events took place. Book change history contains all of the markup contained in the <critdates> element plus an extensible markup allowing organizations to implement their own content lifecycle nominclature without the need for specialization. It also has other advantages over <critdates> including

Each change event includes an @href that can reference a single-instance of changed content and @select-atts that permit proper profiling of the change event. The change event also includes data elements that can reference any number of instances of changed content.

The <critdates> element is equivalent to the Date element in Dublin Core. While <critdates> is available across books, maps, and topics, <bookchangehistory> is only available in the bookmap.

See the <bookchangehistory> spec at

RHanna, October 31, 2011


  1. Create a <changehistory> element that includes the identical markup to the <bookchangehistory> element;

  2. Deprecate the <critdates> element in favor of the <changehistory> element in both maps and topics;

  3. Encourage CMS vendors to find a way to push and pull workflow task metadata to and from change history metadata markup;
  4. Consider recommending rendering capability that rolls up change history in topics and maps and appends it to book-level change history; and
  5. Consider recommending rendering capability that renders topic-level change bars on elements referenced by change events in the change history.

BookChangeHistory (last edited 2011-10-31 14:54:53 by rhanna)