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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.

Brückner, P. (1963). SIGMUND FREUDS PRIVATLEKTÜRE. Psyche – Z Psychoanal., 16(12):881-895.

(1963). Psyche – Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 16(12):881-895

SIGMUND FREUDS PRIVATLEKTÜRE

Peter Brückner

III

10. Jens P. Jacobsen (Niels Lyhne)

„Der Jacobson (Niels Lyhne) hat mir tiefer ins Herz geschnitten als irgendeine Lektüre der letzten neun Jahre. Die letzten Kapitel anerkenne ich als klassisch“ — so Freud 1895 in einem Brief an den Freund W, Fließ. Daß die Formulierung: „tiefer ins Herz geschnitten…“ eine bloße façon de parler wäre, haben wir bei Freud nicht zu gewärtigen, weshalb es nahe liegt, das Buch des dänischen Autors ausführlich zu erörtern. In der Tat führt es tiefer in die Lebenswelt Freuds, als zu erwarten war, wenn wir nur keine zu engen zeitlichen Fixierungen anerkennen, uns ohne Scheu auf die Kontinuität der Ideen Freuds stützen und das Lese-Erlebnis des dreißigjährigen Arztes mit den Ansichten eines alten, großen Mannes verknüpfen, der, wie er sich's als junger Mann gewünscht hatte, in London fast in unseren Tagen starb — fast in unseren Tagen nämlich, gemessen am zeitlichen Abstand zum Jahr der Begegnung mit Jacobsens Werk.

Niels Lyhne, von dem Stefan Zweig schrieb, er sei der „Werther unserer Generation“ gewesen, freilich „ein Werther des Unglaubens“ (Rehm), erschien 1880, im gleichen Jahre wie Friedrich Nietzsches „Antichrist“. Sein Autor, Jens Peter Jacobsen (1847-1885), hatte ursprünglich Botanik studiert, war dezidierter Anhänger Darwins, dessen Schriften er teilweise ins Dänische übersetzte, und schloß sich eng an G.

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