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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.

Marriott, K. (1980). On Becoming a Person. J. Anal. Psychol., 25(2):125-140.

(1980). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 25(2):125-140

On Becoming a Person

Kathleen Marriott, B.A

As A Trainee I had been lucky enough to be given first a patient who, I soon discovered, had reached the depressive position, had achieved a unit-self, was in fact ‘a person’; and then, a year later, a second patient who, though highly developed in many ways, was, in an important sense, not yet ‘a person’. He was still functioning from an early, split position, where his world was experienced in all-or-nothing terms, and his prolific dreams, and transference phantasies, were centred on very early, infantile longings, terrors, and needs. He had not firmly established a me/not me, inner/outer position: his perception of the world was still deeply distorted by unassimilated unconscious contents projected into the environment. The first patient's defences were of the neurotic, the second patient's of the psychotic, kind.

The comparison of these two patients, outwardly similar, inwardly so profoundly different, led me to think hard about the whole concept of individuation, of ‘becoming a person’.

As I read Jung's account of the dissolution of the persona, and the confrontation with the collective unconscious leading to individuation (JUNG 3), the urgency, the vividness, the involvement of body sensation, the feelings of totality, all strongly reminded me of both the intense imaginative play of children in therapy, and of my second clinic patient in analysis, a man in his late twenties.

Clearly, there was something in common here. At first this was puzzling. Jung's description of a socially successful adult of mature years, consciously and conscientiously attempting to relate to his inner messages, is a far cry from a little boy in a playroom being pursued by a ferocious lion. Yet were they not both committed to the urgent task of getting to know, then relating to and finally integrating, a denied part of themselves? Were they not both trying to get access to their own inner energies, so that they would become strengthened, and not persecuted by powerful forces seemingly ‘out there’? Were they not both struggling to find a broader basis of self from which to function?

Certainly, much of what Jung said about individuation is to do with maturity, and not childhood. I think perhaps there are roughly four areas with which he was concerned.

[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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