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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.

Widlöcher, D. (1978). The Ego Ideal of the Psychoanalyst. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 59:387-390.

(1978). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 59:387-390

The Ego Ideal of the Psychoanalyst

Daniel Widlöcher

We must examine the issues which lead us to become interested in the psychoanalyst's ego ideal. Is it simply a matter of applying to ourselves the sort of questions which could be extended to any other profession? Or is it a matter of thinking together about an aspect of our mental functioning which is particularly involved in our professional activity? The second hypothesis is the more likely, and there is every reason to believe that there is an area specific to the analyst's ego ideal, arising from the fact that he carries out his professional activity after a personal experience of psychoanalysis, and especially from the particular conditions of analytic practice.

The analyst's ego ideal in the analytic situation

An important part of the ego ideal is involved in all professional activity. Because of the conditions of the analyst's practice, his professional isolation and the problem of knowing the results of his work, this part of the ego ideal receives little in the way of narcissistic gratification. Nowadays we talk freely of the power of the analyst. We recognize less often the lack of means he has to measure the effect of this power. What does he know of his capacity to be a good analyst, an analyst who is as good as he can be for each and every one of his patients? These questions are rarely asked openly, and yet they are familiar to all those who are starting out as analysts, the more so because they are an extension of questions about the success of their personal analysis.

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