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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.

Heimann, P. (1966). Comment on Dr Kernberg's Paper. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:254-260.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:254-260

Comment on Dr Kernberg's Paper

Paula Heimann

In his present paper Kernberg, when talking about an 'id-derived oral metabolic principle' (p. 240) expresses agreement with myself. Continuing my discussion with him I shall first repeat the substance of my comments on his original paper and then discuss his view that splitting is a mechanism characteristic for early infantile life.

Structural Models

I traced the source of the differences between Kernberg's and my views on early defences to the structural models underlying our theoretical approaches, and pointed out that the first of the two models of psychic structure which Freud (1923), (1937) presented can be described, without too gross simplification, as being based on the oral metabolic principle. According to this model, the id exists from the beginning and the ego is only secondarily derived from the id, is its surface that becomes modified through the intake of the external stimuli and their effects. Intake of the useful and output of the useless, introjection and projection, appear as the architects of structure. When barring the entry of dangerous stimuli, a sample introjection takes place first to allow testing their nature. Only the id is the carrier of inheritance and the reservoir of energy. The forces of the ego are borrowed from the id, its character is determined by identifications and represents a precipitate of abandoned object cathexes. At the Oedipus complex, the height of infantile sexual development, the third structure, the superego, becomes established; again introjection (of some aspects of the parents) and projection (of others) are the instruments which form this 'grade in the ego', repeating thus the pattern of the formation of the ego from the id.

[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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