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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.

Katan, M. (1950). Structural Aspects of a Case of Schizophrenia. Psychoanal. St. Child, 5:175-211.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 5:175-211

Structural Aspects of a Case of Schizophrenia

M. Katan, M.D.


The study of the case of H. is the first publication of a number of investigations of schizophrenia, in all of which I arrive at the conclusion that schizophrenia is not preceded by an infantile psychotic state; that in this respect a psychosis differs radically from a neurosis, for which there is always an infantile basis.

In almost all cases of schizophrenia a distinction can be made between a prepsychotic period and the psychosis proper. The study of the relationship between the prepsychotic and the psychotic symptoms enables us to gain insight into the structure of the delusion and its related phenomena.

Many times the beginning of the prepsychotic phase is marked sharply, as when symptoms appear which show that important parts of the personality have disappeared. Notwithstanding this disappearance, contact with reality is still maintained. The prepsychotic period is characterized not only by "dropping out" phenomena but also by mechanisms that try to ward off the danger of losing contact with reality; sometimes even attempts at recovery are made by remnants of the personality.

There are other cases of schizophrenia where the beginning of the prepsychotic period is less sharply marked and where symptoms seem to develop as an exacerbation of a situation already long in existence. In these cases it is not certain whether these exacerbations differ only quantitatively from the preceding state or whether a qualitative change has also taken place.

In addition, there are a number of borderline cases which show symptoms of a prepsychotic nature but which never develop into a real psychosis, for the patients still succeed in maintaining contact with reality. We know that puberty now and then takes a course which strongly resembles prepsychotic development; fortunately, however, such puberal development frequently takes a turn for the better.

The psychosis proper starts when contact with reality has been abandoned.

[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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