Short descriptions in the ditamap

Short descriptions specified in a DITA topic can be overriden by alternative short description elements in the ditamap.

A short description (shortdesc) element naturally belongs in the topic. The short description is typically rendered in the output as:

In some circumstances, you may want to override the subordinate topic preview text with a publication-specific, alternative short description. To do this, you need to specify the alternative short description in the ditamap. This is done by adding a shortdesc element to the topicmeta element within the topicref.

An example of the topicref mark-up is:
<topicref href="c_starting_xrw.dita" format="dita">
  <topicmeta>
    <shortdesc>The XRW is started by entering the PIN into the security
    keypad, and then turning the ignition key.</shortdesc>
  </topicmeta>
</topicref>
Note: Setting a linktext element within the topicref's topicmeta will similarly result in the generated hierarchical links in hypertext output using this alternative link text, rather than the topic's title.