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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.

Sjödin, C. Jones, D. (2001). A Discussion of Development and Stagnation Based on Eugene O'Neill's Play “Long Day's Journey into Night”. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 10(1):81-86.

(2001). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 10(1):81-86

A Discussion of Development and Stagnation Based on Eugene O'Neill's Play “Long Day's Journey into Night”

Review by:
Christer Sjödin, M.D.

David Jones

In 1998 a new production of “Long Day's Journey into Night” was staged at the Royal Dramatic Theatre to great acclaim. This drama is of special interest for the Swedish audience, since it received its world premiére in Stockholm in 1956, but even more, especially for psychoanalyst, due to its intensity and psychological trustworthiness. Eugene O'Neill lets us follow his own self-analysis, in which he embodies and comes to terms with his own childhood memories. In a painful and arduous process, the author unravels the bonds tying him to his original family. Frozen emotions are allowed to blossom and as they take shape, memories that have previously been so bound up in each other that they had become unyielding are liberated. Thereby they can take new form and be used in associative thought processes that serve the future.

The family

James Tyrone is 65, his wife, Mary, 54, and they have two sons, Jim, the eldest is 33, and his brother, Edmund, is 23 years old. Their beautiful young maid, Cathleen, provides an opening to the world around them. All five are grown-ups. Edmund is at the beginning of his adult life and has not yet chosen the course it will take. Jim, his elder brother, is in mid-career. He still has no family, however. Why not? What use is he making of his talents and why does he still serve as his father's scapegoat? Mary's fiftieth birthday is behind her, and she is presumably past the age of childbearing. Her strength and vitality are beginning to wane.

[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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