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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.

Laquerrière, A. (1996). Inceste Et Jalousie [Incest And Jealousy]. : By Denis Vasse. Paris: Seuil. 1995. Pp. 311.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:1252-1253.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:1252-1253

Inceste Et Jalousie [Incest And Jealousy]. : By Denis Vasse. Paris: Seuil. 1995. Pp. 311.

Review by:
Annie Laquerrière

The psychoanalyst Denis Vasse has written a number of books that delve deep into the heart of what makes man human. He speaks to us as a dedicated clinical psychoanalyst patiently seeking his truth, which he offers to those who tell him of the distress of having life pass them by. He writes as a Christian, integrating faith and the sacred texts with delicate touches that emphasise the Truth of Man, as in the following quotation from the Old Testament: ‘My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning’ (Psalm 130, v. 6).

His own complex progression, paralleling the wanderings of the human soul, is filled with emotions that accompany a process of stripping bare which no psychoanalyst reading the book can reject for himself.

In this inevitably brief review, it is impossible to convey all the themes, concepts and notions that are here developed with a precision born of an art of communication, of telling oneself to the other if he is prepared to listen; here, then, is the fundamental subject-matter of this book on jealousy and incest, namely the refusal to speak, which always involves two protagonists, even if the primal attribution of the refusal remains uncertain and although this refusal of course concerns the analysand.

Let us consider in more detail some of the ideas presented. Jealousy carries within itself the need for possession, lying, exclusion, refusal to speak, to share and to give. While rejecting the possibility of an encounter, it incessantly lays claim to it in ways subtly masked by pernicious demands for the possession, or even extinction, of the other; ‘it is either him or me’ then represents the triumph of the jealous subject.

[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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