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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.

Castiello d'Antonio, A. (2019). Peter A. Levine, Trauma e memoria. Una guida per capire ed elaborare i ricordi traumatici. Prefazione di Bessel A. van der Kolk. Trad. di Gabriele Noferi. Roma: Astrolabio, 2018, pp. 178, € 17,00 (ediz. orig.: Trauma and Memory: Brain and Body in a Search for Living Past. A Practical Guide for Understanding and Working with Traumatic Memory. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2015). Psicoter. Sci. Um., 53(2):345.

(2019). Psicoterapia e Scienze Umane, 53(2):345

Peter A. Levine, Trauma e memoria. Una guida per capire ed elaborare i ricordi traumatici. Prefazione di Bessel A. van der Kolk. Trad. di Gabriele Noferi. Roma: Astrolabio, 2018, pp. 178, € 17,00 (ediz. orig.: Trauma and Memory: Brain and Body in a Search for Living Past. A Practical Guide for Understanding and Working with Traumatic Memory. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2015)

Review by:
Andrea Castiello d'Antonio

Occuparsi dei traumi e dei ricordi traumatici rappresenta un impegno che ha una storia gloriosa in psicopatologia e in clinica psicologica (secondo l'espressione di Cesare L. Musatti che appunto distingueva tra “psicologia clinica” e “clinica psicologica”), e rappresenta anche una responsabilità che va oltre l'esercizio della professione, aprendo ai versanti etici e sociali. Peter Levine ha dedicato la vita a combattere contro gli esiti degli eventi traumatici, sviluppando infine il Somatic Experiencing Method, la cui articolazione è meglio apprezzabile in due suoi libri, tradotti in italiano sempre dall'editore Astrolabio rispettivamente nel 2009 e nel 2014: Il trauma visto da un bambino (del 2007 e scritto con Maggie Kline – si veda la scheda in Psicoterapia e Scienze Umane, 2010, XLIV, 2: 260-261), e Somatic experiencing, del 2010.

In Trauma e memoria l'Autore affronta il problema di come trattare i ricordi traumatici non elaborati. Nel fare ciò Levine richiama un testo classico come L'automatismo psicologico di Pierre Janet (recensito in Psicoterapia e Scienze Umane, 2015, XLIX, 4: 665-667) e passa attraverso i diversi momenti in cui Freud ha riflettuto sui traumi occupandosene anche in modo pratico, come nel parere peritale elaborato in merito alla riabilitazione dei traumatizzati di guerra, in contraddittorio con lo psichiatra Julius von Wagner-Jauregg (Sigmund Freud, Promemoria sul trattamento elettrico dei nevrotici di guerra [1920].

[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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