Typically, the syntax of these characters is as follows, using < to redirect input, and > to redirect output.
executes command1, placing the output in file1, as opposed to displaying it at the terminal, which is the usual destination for standard output. This will clobber any existing data in file1.
executes command1, with file1 as the source of input, as opposed to the keyboard, which is the usual source for standard input.
command1 < infile > outfile
combines the two capabilities: command1 reads from infile and writes to outfile.