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DITA: Shortdesc (short description)

The shortdesc element allows you to add a summary overview of the topic in a couple of sentences right below the topic title and before the conbody or taskbody element.
The shortdesc element is more important than it initially appears to be. Although optional, it's highly recommended that you use this tag. The shortdesc appears in several key places:
  • As a tooltip in links pointing to the page
  • As a description on a parent page containing child pages
  • As the summary that appears in search results
  • Possibly as context sensitive help (perhaps pulled as a tooltip to show in an interface with a link to learn more)

Here's an example:

<concept id="concept">
 <title>Wheel truing overview</title>
 <shortdesc>Truing your wheels requires you to tighten or loosen spokes with a spoke wrentch in a balanced pattern in order to change the shape of the wheel.</shortdesc>
   <p>Blah blah blah...</p>

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Tom Johnson

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