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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.

Brandchaft, B.S. (1966). Psychotic States: A Psycho-Analytical Approach: By Herbert A. Rosenfeld. (London: Hogarth; New York: Int. Univ. Press, 1965. Pp. 263. 42s. $5.50.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:569-575.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:569-575

Psychotic States: A Psycho-Analytical Approach: By Herbert A. Rosenfeld. (London: Hogarth; New York: Int. Univ. Press, 1965. Pp. 263. 42s. $5.50.)

Review by:
Bernard S. Brandchaft

This book brings together thirteen papers written by Dr Rosenfeld between 1947 and 1964. It reflects a searching and painstaking investigation into the psychopathology and treatment of schizophrenia and allied disorders. Six of the papers deal directly and exclusively with schizophrenia: the application of psycho-analysis to acute and chronic schizophrenia; the psychopathology and management of depersonalization phenomena and of confusional states in schizophrenic patients: the nature and psycho-analysis of the superego conflict in schizophrenia; and the psychotic transference. Other papers examine homosexuality, hypochondriasis, narcissistic disorders, and drug addictions; as well as the superego and ego ideal; and problems of acting out, in the light of newer knowledge of early object relations obtained from the psycho-analytic investigation in depth of schizophrenia. A final paper is devoted to a review of the literature on drug addictions.

All the papers with the exception of the last mentioned, make use of detailed and carefully selected clinical material to illustrate how the author arrived at his conclusions. Most are written with a lucidity and restraint that make reading both enjoyable and immensely rewarding.

Twenty years ago, Fenichel (1945p. 452) stressed the scientific importance of the analysis of schizophrenia. 'Neuroses', he wrote,

represent a regression to infantile sexuality. The psychoanalysis of neurosis brought about the understanding of infantile sexuality.

[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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