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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.

Hunt, W.R. (1984). The Psychology of Stuttering: The Insights of I. Peter Glauber. Contemp. Psychoanal., 20:464-470.

(1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 20:464-470

The Psychology of Stuttering: The Insights of I. Peter Glauber

Winslow R. Hunt, M.D.

PSYCHOANALYSIS HAS BY NOW SO LONG a history, and its literature so vast, that important understandings can become lost in that mass. This is especially the case when a syndrome is relatively uncommon, when the persons suffering from it do not usually seek analysis, and when it is not in an area of current theoretical interest. Stuttering was at one time of considerable concern to psychoanalysis; to my knowledge it has not been so recently. The definitive contributions to date were made during the 1940s and '50s by Dr. I. Peter Glauber, who died in 1966, and whose papers have been collected recently and edited by his widow and published in book form (Glauber, 1982). I was analyzed by Dr. Glauber about 30 years ago. This paper will be a summary and appreciation of his work. It will be a brief memoir of that analysis.

In general, people who write about stuttering seem determined, with striking repetitive concreteness, to find something wrong with the speech apparatus itself, no longer with the tongue, as formerly, but now with the respiratory or neural mechanisms. Yet it is easy to demonstrate that the stutterer has nothing wrong with his speech equipment.

[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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