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April 23, 2019

Conference recap: CMS/DITA North America 2019

Metadata, taxonomy, DITA, structured authoring, case studies, and morethose were just some of the topics explored at the CMS/DITA NA conference last week. Thank you to the entire CIDM team for organizing a great conference.


A conference in Durham was an opportunity for us to bring a little local flair. Of course we brought our usual chocolate supply; this time from a local vendor. We also kicked off the conference with networking at our favorite local ice cream shop, just steps from the conference venue. Scriptorium exhibited during the conference, which gave us the opportunity to talk with other vendors in the DITA community about the tools they provide. We talked with attendees about their tool requirements and saw where they aligned.

We also discussed, our website with free DITA training. Attendees were able to tie Scriptorium and LearningDITA together. Several people expressed their appreciation for the site, which has given them a better understanding of DITA.

Having a conference with attendees and vendors interested in DITA made for some great conversations. We were able to record some of these chats and are putting together a two–part podcast. Check our website for part one on April 29th and part two on May 6th.

Notable sessions

Business not Content: The dispassionate case for DITA in the enterprise

Sarah O’Keefe of Scriptorium discussed making the case for to a business-focused audience. Sarah discussed the writer-centric
approach to
maximizing content value and then described how to map business value to content value.  At the executive level, it’s critical to talk about operational efficiency, revenue growth, branding, and other strategic goals instead of focusing on content.   

Taxonomy and terminology

Val Swisher of Content Rules presented on taxonomy and terminology. She discussed the difference between the two and explained how to use them effectively to ensure consistency of language within your content. Val said, “Managing your terminology makes your content consistent, standard and governed. It improves readability, translation, and brand perception.”

Getting started with DITA

Gretyl Kinsey of Scriptorium presented a case study with one of our clients,  Barbara Green of ACS Technologies. The two focused on the challenges faced during DITA adoption and how they handled them. Gretyl and Barbara also discussed the improvements made by moving to DITA and shared what they wish they had known. This was a great session for anyone considering DITA or in the beginning stages of making a DITA transition. (If you’d like more information about getting started with DITA, you can contact us.)

Finally! Multimedia and DITA

Keith Schengili-Roberts and Leigh White of Ixiasoft discussed how to incorporate multimedia into your DITA content. Keith and Leigh explored the multimedia that does and doesn’t work with DITA and shared the benefits and downsides of different tools.


The conference was a great opportunity to network and meet many different people that we have been in communication with but have never actually met in person. It was also beneficial to talk with the vendors and attendees about the evolution of tools.

Downtown Durham has wonderful food. In the evening, the conference scene moved to local restaurants, and it was fun to share some local favorites with conference-goers.

Thank you again to the team at CIDM who organized such a great event–and made it look easy.