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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.

Bion, W.R. Green, A. (2005). COGITATIONS. L'Année Psychanal. Int., 2005:233-241.

(2005). L'Année Psychanalytique Internationale, 2005:233-241

COGITATIONS Language Translation

Wilfred R Bion et André Green

Á l'occasion de la publication en langue française aux éditions InPress des Cogitations (traduction de Jacquelyne Poulain-Colombier) et des Séminaires Italiens de Wilfred Bion (traduction de Diana Messina), le comité de rédaction de L'Année Psychanalytique Internationale a jugé opportun de publier une revue critique des Cogitations écrite par André Green lors de la publication de cette Œuvre en anglais, et parue en 1992 dans The International Journal of Psychoanalysis.

Cogitations est le nom que Bion a donné à ses pensées couchées sur le papier. Ces réflexions sont restées en plan dans les dossiers de Bion et, déterrées par sa femme Francesca, elles sont maintenant offertes à notre lecture. Il faut renoncer à publier tout ce qui a été jugé impropre à la publication, mais il faut admettre que les esquisses et les repentirs de Bion sont souvent plus précieux que l'essentiel de ce qui prend le chemin de la publication. Ces notes au jour le jour font l'effet d'une brise d'air frais venant du large.

En comparaison avec l'œuvre publiée de Bion, les Cogitations sont saisissantes à lire et souvent moins difficiles à assimiler car les formulations de l'auteur sont moins condensées et parce qu'il nous laisse assister au développement de ses pensées.

[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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