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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.

Perestrello, D. (1948). Bellak, Leopold: Dementia praecox. Grune y Stratton, Nueva York, 1948. 456 págs.. Rev. psicoanál., 6(2):529-530.

(1948). Revista de Psicoanálisis, 6(2):529-530

Bellak, Leopold: Dementia praecox. Grune y Stratton, Nueva York, 1948. 456 págs.

Review by:
Danilo Perestrello

Constituye este tomo un gran esfuerzo de síntesis de las numerosas investigaciones sobre el tema llevadas a cabo en los últimos diez años y es una buena obra para poner al tanto al especialista sobre el estado actual de los estudios acerca de la demencia precoz. Reúne las principales características del libro norteamericano de nuestros días. Perfecta presentación material, bibliografía extensísima, en total 3.200 referencias bibliográficas (todos los trabajos referentes a la esquizofrenia que constan en el Index Medicus en la última década), posición equidistante frente a las varias escuelas, buscando realizar más una recopilación de lo que se ha estudiado, que tomar partido en el tema. Encontramos resumidos todos los ángulos bajo los cuales la esquizofrenia ha sido enfocada. Los diferentes aspectos somáticos y psicológicos, con los trabajos más importantes, son pasados en revista. La parte terapéutica está muy bien orientada y sigue en líneas generales las directivas del libro de Kalinowsky y Hoch, resumido en el último número de esta revista. Hay un capítulo dedicado a la esquizofrenia infantil que, aunque no sea de los mejores de la obra, suministra una vista panorámica del problema.

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