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Information filtering

An Information filtering system is a system that removes redundant or unwanted information from an information stream using (semi)automated or computerized methods prior to presentation to a human user.

Its main goal is the management of the information overload and increment of the semantic signal-to-noise ratio.

To do this the user's profile is compared to some reference characteristics. These characteristics may originate from the information item (the content-based approach) or the user's social environment (the collaborative filtering approach).

Whereas in information transmission electronic filters are used against syntax-disrupting noise on the bit-level, the methods employed in information filtering act on the semantic level.

The range of machine methods employed builds on the same principles as those for information extraction. A notable application can be found in the field of email spam filters. Thus, it is not only the information explosion that necessitates some form of filters, but also inadvertently or maliciously introduced pseudo-information.

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Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.