I'm looking for a word for the process of organizing things into multiple dimensions. For example, if you had an online shoe store, you might want to decide to let customers filter your shoes by several attributes, e.g.: mens/womens, price, size, and color. What is a good term to describe the process of choosing these dimensions? A related term is clustering, where you might cluster the shoes into clusters, such as a cluster for mens shoes and a separate cluster for womens shoes. Clustering is a good term because it refers to the organizational process but misses the fact that there are multiple ways to split the items into groups by color or gender or by numerical values such as size or price. Thanks!

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    You should probably ask for such a term to a more technical audience, like crossvalidated.SE. But a close term might be 'principal components'.
    – Mitch
    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 12:40
  • I updated the question to clarify that the term refers to the process and that it doesn't have to be a for a technical audience. Thanks! Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 13:18
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    The word you used, 'filter', is the term for the process of choosing the dimensions.
    – Mitch
    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 13:39
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    Categorising / choosing categories. Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 14:39
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    @Mitch: Filtering is what customers will be doing, OP is asking what you do in order customers can filter products by <dimensions>.
    – ermanen
    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 17:51

1 Answer 1


The general term is sorting.

Sorting is any process of arranging items according to a certain sequence or in different sets, and therefore, it has two common, yet distinct meanings:

  • ordering: arranging items of the same kind, class or nature, in some ordered sequence,
  • categorizing: grouping and labeling items with similar properties together (by sorts).

The main purpose of sorting information is to optimise its usefulness for specific tasks. In general, there are two ways of grouping information: by category e.g. a shopping catalogue where items are compiled together under headings such as 'home', 'sport & leisure', 'women's clothes' etc. (nominal scale) and by the intensity of some property, such as price, e.g. from the cheapest to most expensive (ordinal scale).


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