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The DocBook DTD was already customizable, see DocBookCustomization.
But with DocBook V5 on sight, people will be much more likely to customize the schema, and not simply use the "role" attribute. While this is great in an information coding point of view it poses the problem of interoperability, Customized DocBook is not really DocBook anymore.
- This paper discusses the redesign of DocBook as a native RELAX NG grammar: http://www.mulberrytech.com/Extreme/Proceedings/html/2004/Walsh01/EML2004Walsh01.html
- NormanWalsh is describing techniques for smart handling of customizations, using the DITA specialization concept: http://norman.walsh.name/2005/10/21/dita#specialization
- To encourage people in playing with customizations JirkaKosek extended Norm's solution to work also with XSLT 1.0 stylesheets: http://xmlguru.cz/2006/03/easy-docbook-specialization
- A DocBook subcommittee for Publishers has been established to create an "official variant" of DocBook to meet the needs of the publishing industry. This page is meant to serve as a starting point to propose some guidelines, and a "DocBook Specializations Repository" where people could contribute their customized schemas and stylesheets to handle specific requirements.