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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.

Gómez, P. Manzano, J. (2005). Framing and interpretation in the analysis of adolescents. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(1):159-162.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(1):159-162

Framing and interpretation in the analysis of adolescents

Reported by:
Primitivo Gómez

Moderator Juan Manzano

Three papers were presented: Stefano Bolognini: ‘The bar in the desert: Symmetry and asymmetry in analytic work with adolescents and late adolescents’; Primitivo Gómez: ‘Interpretation and framing in the new pathology of urgency in adolescence’; and Álvaro Nin: ‘Some particularities in the psychoanalytic treatment of adolescent patients’.

Juan Manzano started the discussion by drawing attention to points of coincidence and difference between the papers. For him, agreement rested on clinical practice: ‘clinical practice is what unites and reassures us’. He pointed out that the first time period described by Gómez—that of pre-framing—is quite evidently presented in Bolognini's paper. Although it is conceptualized, as he says, in a different manner, it still refers to a first period that does not have to be interpreted. He stated that he has always been interested in the sociological topic of ‘adolescents in rupture’ (who have broken, in one way or another, with their surroundings). Then he referred to nomads at different moments in history, both to cultural nomads and adolescent nomads seen in Paris, Geneva and Bologna, who have the same characteristics; for example, they move from one festival to the next. He mentioned that an assistance program for these young people has been started that is almost word for word like Bolognini's concept of the waiter in the desert, someone who is at that place and offers help to these adolescents, who always have some need.

[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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