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Tip: Understanding Rank

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When you do a search, you can sort the results bibliographically alphabetical or by “rank”. What is Rank?

Rank refers to the search engine’s “best guess” as to the relevance of the result to the search you specified. The exact method of ranking used varies a bit depending on the search. In its most basic level, when you specify a single search term, rank looks at the density of the matches for the word in the document, and how close to the beginning of the document they appear as a measure of importance to the paper’s topic. The documents with the most matches and where the term is deemed to have the most importance, have the highest “relevance” and are ranked first (presented first).

When you specify more than one term to appear anywhere in the article, the method is similar, but the search engine looks at how many of those terms appear, and how close together they appear, how close to the beginning of the document, and can even take into account the relative rarity of the search terms and their density in the retrieved file, where infrequent terms count more heavily than common terms.

To see a simple example of this, search for the words (not the phrase, so no quotes):

unconscious communications

Look at the density of matches in each document on the first page of the hits. Then go to the last page of matched documents, and observe the density of matches within the documents.

A more complex search illustrates this nicely with a single page and only 15 matches:

counter*tr* w/25 “liv* out” w/25 enact*

There are a lot of word forms and variants of the words (due to the * wildcards) above that can match, but the proximity (w/25) clause limits the potential for matching. What’s interesting here though is how easily you can see the match density decrease as you view down the short list.

The end result of selecting order by rank is that the search engine’s best “guess” as to which articles are more relevant appear higher on the list than less relevant articles.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Epstein, O.B. (2012). Shame, Director: Steve McQueen, 2011. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 6(2):158-159.

(2012). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 6(2):158-159

Film Reviews

Shame, Director: Steve McQueen, 2011

Review by:
Orit Badouk Epstein

In a recent BBC interview, the director Steve McQueen was challenged that unlike other substance abuse such as drug or alcohol, where the addict suffers cravings and withdrawal symptoms, sex cannot be defined as an addiction per se, to which McQueen replied: “Anything that rules ones life destructively where everything else becomes secondary and ruins his/her life can be defined as an addiction” (January 19th 2012).

As with his previous powerful and bold film Hunger, McQueen's unflinching style does not shy away from the brutal reality of the grittiest issues the human condition presents us with.

Shame is a film about sex addiction, self destruction, and shattered attachment. New Yorker, Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a sleek looking likeable yuppie who seemingly leads a successful career. However, his addiction to pornography, casual sex, paid sex, and compulsive masturbation increasingly takes over his life. As with all addictions, the release of his addiction provides him with a means that he can avoid a real relationship. The only real relationship Brandon has is with his emotionally troubled sister Sissy (Carry Mulligan), who, unlike her apparently self-controlled brother, is overwhelmed by her needs and impulsive. She has no boundaries and is self-harming. Their failed attempts to connect with each other, seems to trigger them both and brings out the worst in each other.

Shame and humiliation deeply buried under guilt, is at the forefront of addiction. Shame means that you feel bad for what or who you actually are. Shame sometimes results from being used in an unacceptable or degrading manner such as the shame about feeling physical excitement while one is being molested.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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