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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.

Babonneau, M. (2005). Interpréter le transfert [Interpreting the transference] Edited by Félicie Nayrou and Georges Pragier Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 2004. 176 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(6):1740-1744.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(6):1740-1744

Interpréter le transfert [Interpreting the transference] Edited by Félicie Nayrou and Georges Pragier Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 2004. 176 pp.

Review by:
Marc Babonneau

The question of interpreting the transference is giving rise to new debates that may be interesting to consider—moving beyond the classical distinction between ‘interpreting the transference’ and ‘interpreting in the transference’—concerning concepts, currently accepted in France, of the coexistence of the transference and the countertransference, contributions from contemporary psychoanalysis and its various currents and, finally, modifications in accordance with current clinical practice. This collaborative reflection by analysts from the Paris Psychoanalytical Society, taking account of these various parameters, reviews the situation in this volume dedicated to this theoretical and clinical subject that is regularly explored in psychoanalysis.

The first part of the book presents a theoretical contribution formulated by four authors, each bringing their own original viewpoint to bear on this subject.

Jean-Luc Donnet (‘Interpretation of the transference’) takes his starting-point from the setting, which gives rise—as he puts it—to ‘the analytic nature of the situation’, in which, in the co-construction of the session, transference interpretation is interwoven with the interpretation of the material presented in the session. This allows the transference to be redeployed in new forms that can be interpreted in the deferred action.

[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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