Specific Use

Specifies distinctions in the applicability of a particular element.


This Tag Set does not limit the uses of the @specific-use attribute. For example, @specific-use could be used to mark content (such as a paragraph, note, or section) that:
  • only appears in one format (“web-only”, “print-only”, “voice-only”, “electronic-only”);
  • is intended for a particular audience (the set “for-teachers” versus the set for “for-students”, or the sets “for-doctors”, “for-nurses”, or “for-the-patient”);
  • is organization-sensitive material (“company-only” or “limited-distribution”) and thus not shown to all audiences;
  • has a specific use that cannot be determined from the content of the material, for example, is part of continuing medical or legal education (“CME”); or
  • contains an accessibility alternative that screen readers could “read” but that visual display devices would ignore. (See also the @alt attribute.)


No particular processing or display is promised by the values of this attribute; it is up to the users’ application to make any appropriate display versions. This attribute can be used to create some of the old SGML functionality of using Marked Sections within text.
Best Practice: This attribute is not used to make semantic distinctions; the attribute @content-type is more appropriate to tell, for example, “skeletal” system material, “circulatory” system material, and “lymphatic” system material, or “legal” material from “engineering” material. The @specific-use attribute is used to make usage or processing distinctions, for example, audience or sorting distinctions. The attributes can be used together, for example, to mark “content-type="dosage" specific-use="for-the-patient"”. The attribute can also be used in combination with the @xml:lang attribute to indicate, for example, that a name given in a second language is a transliteration of the primary name. This attribute is not appropriate for differences in appearance; the element <styled-content> is typically better for that use. Nor should this attribute be used to record lifecycle or version distinctions.

Used on these Elements:

<abbrev>, <abstract>, <ack>, <addr-line>, <address>, <aff>, <ali:free_to_read>, <ali:license_ref>, <alt-text>, <alt-title>, <annotation>, <anonymous>, <answer>, <answer-set>, <app>, <app-group>, <array>, <attrib>, <author-comment>, <author-notes>, <award-group>, <award-id>, <back>, <bio>, <body>, <bold>, <book-app>, <book-app-group>, <book-back>, <book-body>, <book-id>, <book-part>, <book-part-id>, <book-part-wrapper>, <book-volume-id>, <book-volume-number>, <boxed-text>, <caption>, <chapter-title>, <chem-struct>, <chem-struct-wrap>, <city>, <code>, <collab>, <collection-id>, <collection-meta>, <comment>, <conf-acronym>, <conf-date>, <conf-loc>, <conf-name>, <conf-num>, <conf-sponsor>, <conf-theme>, <conference>, <contrib>, <contrib-group>, <contrib-id>, <copyright-holder>, <copyright-statement>, <copyright-year>, <corresp>, <country>, <custom-meta>, <data-title>, <date>, <date-in-citation>, <day>, <dedication>, <def>, <def-item>, <def-list>, <degrees>, <disp-formula>, <disp-formula-group>, <disp-quote>, <edition>, <element-citation>, <elocation-id>, <email>, <era>, <etal>, <event>, <event-desc>, <explanation>, <ext-link>, <fax>, <fig>, <fig-group>, <fixed-case>, <fn>, <fn-group>, <foreword>, <fpage>, <front-matter-part>, <funding-group>, <funding-source>, <funding-statement>, <glossary>, <gov>, <graphic>, <index>, <index-div>, <index-entry>, <index-group>, <index-term>, <inline-formula>, <inline-graphic>, <inline-supplementary-material>, <institution>, <institution-id>, <isbn>, <issn>, <issn-l>, <issue>, <issue-id>, <issue-part>, <issue-title>, <italic>, <journal-id>, <kwd-group>, <license>, <license-p>, <list>, <list-item>, <long-desc>, <lpage>, <media>, <milestone-end>, <milestone-start>, <mixed-citation>, <monospace>, <month>, <name>, <named-content>, <nav-pointer>, <note>, <notes>, <object-id>, <on-behalf-of>, <open-access>, <option>, <overline>, <overline-end>, <overline-start>, <p>, <page-range>, <part-title>, <patent>, <person-group>, <phone>, <postal-code>, <preface>, <prefix>, <preformat>, <price>, <principal-award-recipient>, <principal-investigator>, <private-char>, <product>, <pub-id>, <publisher-loc>, <publisher-name>, <question>, <question-preamble>, <question-wrap>, <question-wrap-group>, <rb>, <ref>, <ref-list>, <related-article>, <related-object>, <role>, <roman>, <rt>, <ruby>, <sans-serif>, <sc>, <season>, <sec>, <see>, <see-also>, <see-also-entry>, <see-entry>, <self-uri>, <series>, <serif>, <sig>, <sig-block>, <size>, <source>, <speaker>, <speech>, <state>, <statement>, <std>, <std-organization>, <strike>, <string-conf>, <string-date>, <string-name>, <styled-content>, <sub>, <subj-group>, <subtitle>, <suffix>, <sup>, <supplement>, <supplementary-material>, <table>, <table-wrap>, <table-wrap-group>, <target>, <term>, <tex-math>, <textual-form>, <title>, <toc>, <toc-div>, <toc-entry>, <toc-group>, <trans-abstract>, <trans-source>, <trans-subtitle>, <trans-title>, <trans-title-group>, <underline>, <underline-end>, <underline-start>, <unstructured-kwd-group>, <uri>, <verse-group>, <verse-line>, <version>, <volume>, <volume-id>, <volume-in-collection>, <volume-series>, <x>, <xref>, <year>
Text, numbers, or special charactersA specific distinction in the applicability of a particular element, for example, “print-only”.
Restriction@specific-use is an optional attribute; there is no default.


<media mime-subtype="mpeg" mimetype="video" orientation="portrait"
position="anchor" specific-use="archival-format" xlink:href="v1"></media>
<media mime-subtype="x-flv" mimetype="video" orientation="portrait"
position="anchor" specific-use="online-format" xlink:href="v1"></media>