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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.

Jacobi, J. (1958). The Process of Individuation: A Study in Developmental Psychology. J. Anal. Psychol., 3(2):95-114.

(1958). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 3(2):95-114

The Process of Individuation: A Study in Developmental Psychology

Jolande Jacobi

The true scientific knowledge now consists not only of answers to the question, What? Knowledge is only complete when the Whither has also been discovered and linked with a kindred Whence. Science is only brought to the level of understanding when it embraces origin, progress and end.

J. J. Bachofen (1861), “Introduction” to Das Mutterrecht

If we wish to look closely at Jung's position and at his answer to the questions raised by the problems of developmental psychology, we cannot do better than study his exposition of that psychic process which he has called the process of individuation. The nature, phenomenology, and laws of this process form the cornerstone of his teaching.

The word itself, and the concept of the process of individuation, appear first in Jung's Psychological Types, written in 1921, but the idea itself had already been implied in 1902 as a leading idea in his doctoral thesis, “On the Psychology and Pathology of So-called Occult Phenomena”. [There he says (1957, Coll. Wks., p. 79), “It is therefore inevitable that the phenomena of double consciousness are simply new character formations or attempts of the future personality to break through…. The somnambulisms sometimes have an eminently teleological significance, in that they give the individual, who would otherwise inevitably succumb, the means of victory.”] The theme was to remain with him all his life, culminating in his recently published two-volume work, Mysterium Coniunctionis (1955-6). In his early paper he came to the conclusion that the “spirits” which appeared in the course of the séance with a medium revealed the breaking through of autonomous part-personalities which, hidden together with the unseen components of a more extensive personality, were at an unconscious level of the medium's psyche.

[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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