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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.

Rosenberg, E. (1949). Anxiety and the Capacity to Bear It. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 30:1-12.

(1949). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 30:1-12

Anxiety and the Capacity to Bear It

Elizabeth Rosenberg

This paper has been developed from two clinical lectures on the subject of Anxiety States given to second-year students this winter. During the necessary revision of analytic literature on the subject of anxiety itself, which preparation for these lectures entailed, the double orientation towards the subject, typified for example by Freud's distinction between primary and secondary anxiety, became more and more obvious. I reached the conclusion, in addition, that there have been few attempts to correlate the premises on which much modern work has been based, with earlier theoretical formulations regarding the psychopathology of anxiety. The first aim, therefore, in this paper is to review briefly the history and development of analytic thought regarding the essential nature of anxiety in order to state as clearly as possible those aspects of theory which, although still incomplete, appear to be relatively non-controversial, in that they are compatible with considerable differences of opinion in respect to other basic concepts. In contrast, I also wish to define other important theoretical concepts, particularly with regard to the nature and origin of internal danger situations, which appear far more controversial and in respect to which differences of opinion tend to give rise to unavoidable theoretical controversy.

The second aim, owing to the fact that my own interest in this subject was originally stimulated by my opportunity during the war of examining a large number of anxious soldiers to a greater or lesser depth, has a more direct clinical bearing.

[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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