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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.

Pearson, W. (2019). The Challenge of Being Human by Michael Eigen Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge 2018, 146 pp.. Fort Da, 25(1):68-71.

(2019). Fort Da, 25(1):68-71

Reviews: Book Review Essay

The Challenge of Being Human by Michael Eigen Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge 2018, 146 pp.

Review by:
Willow Pearson, Psy.D., LMFT

Opening to the Challenge

Reading Michael Eigen's new work, The Challenge of Being Human, his 26th book in an extraordinary opus of psychoanalytic texts, I am struck by how he holds up a mirror to my mind (with regard for the unknowable) that is simultaneously unflinching and compassionate with its open, honest questions and invitation to self-reflection. I am compelled and helped to go further because Eigen suggests to do just a bit at a time, to keep beginning, to not have to have all the answers, to open to what I am really, actually feeling and experiencing. In this spirit, reading Eigen is like having a therapy session with him.

The Challenge of Being Human aptly begins with a chapter on “Alternate infinities.” Starting in this way, Eigen exhorts the reader to engage the alternate infinity that he presents in a Bionian/post-Bionian spirit, by oscillating between and among multiple dreams of the infinite. For Eigen, the infinite is very personal: he takes the time-honored, pointing-out instruction to “regard all dharmas as dreams, including this one” and helps me see this pointing-out in a new light. Dreams become infinities through his unique teachings that draw from Bion's O, Kabbalah's ein sof, and Zen's dharma. And Eigen helps me alternate my own experiences of practice in a number of infinities I am immersed in: composing lyrics and melodies, singing, Quakerism, yoga, Zen Buddhism, Vajrayana Buddhism, Grotstein's and Eigen's Bionian/post-Bionian psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and dreaming.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the article. PEP-Web provides full-text search of the complete articles for current and archive content, but only the abstracts are displayed for current content, due to contractual obligations with the journal publishers. For details on how to read the full text of 2017 and more current articles see the publishers official website here.]

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