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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.

Martignon, A. (1949). EL AMOR EN LOS ANIMALES: EL VERRACO. Rev. psicoanál., 6(3-4):767.

(1949). Revista de Psicoanálisis, 6(3-4):767

EL AMOR EN LOS ANIMALES: EL VERRACO

Andrée Martignon

Una jeta de jabalí, unas patas robustas que pueden cavar la tierra como un azadón, ríñones alargados, cola formando tirabuzón y dejando al descubierto una grupa siempre sucia; éste es el verraco, macho impacientemente reclamado por las hembras en la época del celo.

La hembra, efectivamente, demuestra una especie de glotonería amorosa. Exige el acoplamiento con verdadero encarnizamiento. Si está cautiva, gruñe con violencia, se revuelca, roe la puerta que le impide escapar, se abalanza furiosamente contra quien le lleva el alimento. Cuando va en rebaño, busca impetuosamente al verraco. Si no lo encuentra, montará a las cerdas, haciendo el simulacro del acto que reclama; llegará hasta a perseguir al pastor y a adoptar contra él actitudes sugestivas.

Cuando por fin da con su macho, restriega el hocico a lo largo de sus costados, de sus piernas, de su vientre y se le ofrece para ponerlo en deseo.

En cuanto el verraco la coge, la hembra se pone a hozar la tierra, a comer, sin ni siquiera aguardar el fin de la cópula, que a veces dura un cuarto de hora, manteniendo atada a la pareja como sucede entre los perros.

Una vez consumada la unión, el verraco no da prueba alguna de cariño ni de preferencia. Él olvido de los amantes es instantáneo. Una fecundación que ha sido bestialmente reclamada, termina en la indiferencia.

(Del libro de Jean Rostand, Lucien Berland y otros: Costumbres amorosas de los animales, por cortesía de la “Editorial Sudamericana”, Buenos Aires.)

[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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