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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.

Impert, L. Rubin, M. (2011). The Mother at the Glen: The Relationship Between Mourning and Nostalgia. Psychoanal. Dial., 21(6):691-706.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 21(6):691-706

The Mother at the Glen: The Relationship Between Mourning and Nostalgia

Laura Impert, L.C.S.W. and Margaret Rubin, Ph.D.

This paper explores the relationship between nostalgia and mourning. Nostalgia has generally been used in the literature to describe pathological and defensive maneuvers that serve to disavow mourning. Although we are aware of the need for defensive nostalgia in times of overwhelming grief, we are primarily interested in how mourning is often evoked through nostalgic memories. We examine the sensory dimension of nostalgia, specifically our bodily based emotional experiences that take the form of felt embodied memories. Played out in the treatment setting, these unbidden sensory experiences frequently awaken past memories in each member of the analytic dyad, giving way to new affect states and, for the patient, an opportunity for rewriting old narratives. We examine Marcel Proust's “celestial nourishment” as well as evocative objects and memorials that we use to contain our grief. The clinical implications of mourning and nostalgia are traced in case materials using the intersubjective communications between both analyst and patient, hopefully demonstrating the use of this rich material in the treatment setting.

[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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