Topics

Existing specializations for municipal ordinances #specialization

Don Day
 

Codes and ordinances for cities are a fairly regular type of content, comprised of ordinance numbers and statements, posits, resolutions, sections, recording information, and more. Several subscription services provide online management and publishing of ordinances for cities with larger budgets, using HTML5 with attributes to represent semantic parts. Has anyone done work on a DITA equivalent for ordinance and/or meeting markup that I might study or adapt?

Eliot Kimber, I have read your Balisage piece on developing a print service for MuniCode, but I need to understand whether there's a good case for using a topic specialization for the parts of an ordinance and its relationship to other current/defunct ordinances and to pertinent state regulations for cities (such as Texas Local Government Code and in particular Chapter 212 on which Texas city charters and ordinances are based).

I welcome any observations on a common practice for this type of markup and its publication.

--

Don Day

(Finding that even small towns can use DITA.)

ekimber@contrext.com
 

As part of the Municode project I observed that they would have done well to use DITA as the base of their code authoring markup but as they had not and it was too late to change by the time I came on the project, I did not pursue it.

You could certainly use DITA linking, either inline or using relationship tables to relate code to other law or to older versions of the same code. Municode, and probably all their competitors, do this kind of indexing in a very manual, text-based way, but it could be made more sophisticated.

But based on my experience with Municode, I would have pursued applying DITA using something like:

- Specialized map type(s) for representing the different kinds of publications they have
- Specialized map, topic, and topicref types for the different kinds of sections you find in code: parts, chapters, divisions, subsections, articles, etc. (it's quite a long list). This would probably look a lot like the various publishing-related topic types in D4P.
- Highly constrained content models for topic content
- Specialized metadata for topics (there are a lot of small bits that contribute to various titles and running heads), as well as metadata that captures the revision history of the code (as opposed to the revision history of the document that is the codified code).
- Markup for authored and inline indexing--a lot of the value that a company like Municode adds to the code is indexing the code against ordinances, state, and Federal statutes and other relevant law and regulations.
- Specialized markup for citations to various legal things (the code itself as well as other law a regulation)
- Specialized forms of footnote
- Specialized mention elements as needed

The body content of the code is, for the most part, limited to paragraphs, lists, figures, and tables. The main issue one would face is how to maintain enumerations in the face of updates where there is no guarantee that numbered paragraphs or lists will always be sensible. The D4P simple enumeration domain could be applied here--it provides markup that simply identifies content that is literal enumeration.

Cheers,

E.

--
Eliot Kimber
http://contrext.com


´╗┐On 12/16/19, 12:59 PM, "Don Day" <dita-users@groups.io on behalf of @donrday> wrote:

Codes and ordinances for cities are a fairly regular type of content, comprised of ordinance numbers and statements, posits, resolutions, sections, recording information, and more. Several subscription services provide online management and publishing of ordinances for cities with larger budgets, using HTML5 with attributes to represent semantic parts. Has anyone done work on a DITA equivalent for ordinance and/or meeting markup that I might study or adapt?

Eliot Kimber, I have read your Balisage piece on developing a print service for MuniCode, but I need to understand whether there's a good case for using a topic specialization for the parts of an ordinance and its relationship to other current/defunct ordinances and to pertinent state regulations for cities (such as Texas Local Government Code and in particular Chapter 212 on which Texas city charters and ordinances are based).
I welcome any observations on a common practice for this type of markup and its publication.
--
Don Day
(Finding that even small towns can use DITA.)