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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.

Slochower, J. (2016). Taking the Transference, Reaching towards Dreams: Clinical Studies in the Intermediate Area by M. Gerard Fromm Karnac Books, London, 2012; 240 pp; $51.68. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(4):1222-1226.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(4):1222-1226

Taking the Transference, Reaching towards Dreams: Clinical Studies in the Intermediate Area by M. Gerard Fromm Karnac Books, London, 2012; 240 pp; $51.68

Review by:
Joyce Slochower

Gerard Fromm has written a clinically wise and engaging book that explicates the implications and applications of Winnicott's thinking to work with our most disturbed patients. The title, Taking the transference, embodies Fromm's core thesis: the analyst must be able to ‘take’, that is, tolerate and hold, the intense transference feelings that very ill patients bring to the consulting room.

This is a deeply phenomenological, non-polemical book, rich with complex case illustrations and thickened with Fromm's creative use of theory. It will engage a range of readers, from beginning therapists struggling with their most disturbed patients, to seasoned clinicians interested in expanding the relevance of Winnicottian ideas to borderline and psychotic patients.

Much of Fromm's clinical material is taken from patients seen at the Austen Riggs Center in Massachusetts. Riggs is an unusual - and impressive - treatment setting. In an open (non-coercive) therapeutic community, very disturbed patients receive treatment in individual psychoanalytic psychotherapy along with other community-based modalities.

Many of the patients Fromm describes would be diagnosed as borderline or psychotic. But Fromm challenges the usefulness of these categories and formulates clinical dynamics outside them. Fromm uses detailed case material to illustrate how the therapist can help very ill patients work through the kind of deep transference involvement that we more typically associate with intensive on-the-couch psychoanalytic treatment of neurotic patients.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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