The Guardian's 'river of tones'

 by Martin Belam, 29 September 2009

Meg Pickard tweeted yesterday about finding The Guardian's 'river of news' page quite useful, and it got picked up in a couple of places. I think it neatly illustrates a couple of points about our information architecture and web principles.

The Guardian's 'river of news'

The URL of the page is, and it is the 'tone' bit that is interesting from an information architecture point of view. All content on the site is tagged with a 'tone' that illustrates the type of content, for example whether it is news, comment, a blog post or a review. The /tone/[type]/latest syntax works for all tones. You can get not just a 'river of news' but also a 'river of blog posts', a 'river of comment', a 'river of reviews' and even a 'river of obituaries' if you so wish. As is standard for, adding /rss to the end of the URL will give you a webfeed of the content.

Guardian 'river of comment'

Our stated web principles are that all online Guardian content should be permanent, addressable, discoverable and open. The /latest at the end of the URL ensures that you get a river of today's news or blogs or comments. However, the system also builds permanent, addressable, discoverable dated archives of these pages, so that there is a permanent URL for all the news we published on Monday or Saturday or, going back in time, to September 11th 2001 or July 7th 2005 to pick some landmark dates from the archive.


Could the root have some random tags or interestingness on it instead of a 404 to drag people in deeper..otherwise it's perfect

Are there any plans for a river of "all" or everything which is posted to The Guardian website across the sections?

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