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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.

Hall, J.A. (1995). Hopcke, Robert H. Men's Dreams, Men's Healing: A Psychotherapist Explores a New View of Masculinity through Jungian Dreamwork. Boston & London: Shambala, 1990. Pp. viii + 220. Pbk $13.00.. J. Anal. Psychol., 40(2):262-263.

(1995). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 40(2):262-263

Hopcke, Robert H. Men's Dreams, Men's Healing: A Psychotherapist Explores a New View of Masculinity through Jungian Dreamwork. Boston & London: Shambala, 1990. Pp. viii + 220. Pbk $13.00.

Review by:
James A. Hall

This is a well written and interesting book, the third on a Jungian topic by Robert Hopcke, who is styled on the book's cover as a ‘Jung-oriented psychotherapist’. One of his previous books dealt with homosexuality and that topic figures prominently in the present volume. The book describes dream work with two men, one heterosexual and one homosexual. A central theme is ‘the patriarchy’ and its negative influence on both men.

The dreams of the two men form a home base from which excursions are made into many other areas. A frequent side trip is the amplification of Greek myths as, for example, the story of Ouranos-Chronos-Zeus, all taken to illustrate the excesses of ‘the patriarchy’. Later in the book Christian material is also used in amplification.

A dream of ‘Pete’, one of the two men discussed, is of him urinating on his own daughter, then washing her in a tub. It is only through amplification on the archetypal level that the dream is shown to have positive meaning — that of contrasting urination to the alternative action of shooting her.

Several examples show how intrapsychic dynamics influence the transference situation and how the transference can be used to illuminate the patient's situation.

Perhaps Hopcke's most interesting (and controversial) suggestion is to loose the anima from its theoretical moorings as contrasexual to the conscious sex of the ego. He suggests defining it by its function of mediating between the conscious and the unconscious 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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