Howard Rheingold: Seven Principles of Information Filtering

IO Sense-Making
Howard Rheingold
Howard Rheingold

Filtering Seven Principles

Filtering is essential to the info-handling side of infotention, and JP Rangaswami is one of the few people I look to for deep and broad thinking about infotention issues (Harold Jarche and Robin Good are others who immediately come to mind). Consider adding his blog to your RSS aggregator: confused of calcutta: a blog about information.

Filtering: Seven Principles

In earlier posts towards the tail end of last year and early this year, I committed to writing a number of posts on filtering. The background is simple:

  • soon, everything and everyone will be connected
  • that includes people, devices, creatures, inanimate objects, even concepts (like a tweet or a theme)
  • at the same time, the cost of sensors and actuators is dropping at least as fast as compute and storage
  • so that means everything and everyone can now publish status and alerts of pretty much anything
  • there’s the potential for a whole lotta publishing to happen
  • which in turn means it’s firehose time
  • so we need filters
  • which is why the stream/filter/drain approach is becoming more common
  • and which is why I want to spend time on all this during 2014, starting with the filter

So here goes.


1. Filters should be built such that they are selectable by subscriber, not publisher
2. Filters should intrinsically be dynamic, not static
3. Filters should have inbuilt “serendipity” functionality
4. Filters should be interchangeable, exchangeable, even tradeable
5. The principal filters should be by choosing a variable and a value (or range of values) to include or exclude
6. Secondary filters should then be about routing
7. Network-based filters, “collaborative filtering” should then complete the set

Read full article with expansion for each list item.

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