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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.

Grinberg, L. (1957). Langer, Marie: Fantasías eternas a la luz del psicoanálisis. Biblioteca de Psicoanálisis de la Asociación Psicoanalítica Argentina. Ed. Nova, B. Aires, 1957, 157 págs.. Rev. psicoanál., 14(3):335-336.

(1957). Revista de Psicoanálisis, 14(3):335-336

Langer, Marie: Fantasías eternas a la luz del psicoanálisis. Biblioteca de Psicoanálisis de la Asociación Psicoanalítica Argentina. Ed. Nova, B. Aires, 1957, 157 págs.

Review by:
León Grinberg

La personalidad de la autora es suficientemente conocida como para requerir una presentación. Sin embargo, si necesitáramos elegir uno solo de sus numerosos trabajos y conferencias para dar la pauta de su talento y capacidad, mencionaríamos su libro “Maternidad y sexo” no sólo por el notable éxito obtenido en su difusión sino, y muy fundamentalmente, por los incuestionables valores científicos de lo que se ha convertido en uno de los estudios psicoanalíticos más acabados y profundos sobre la psicología de la mujer.

En éste, su nuevo libro, nos muestra un objetivo diferente de su inquietud investigadora y hacia donde ha focalizado su aguda lente psicoanalítica. Lo hace con una mezcla de modestia y audacia a la vez. Modestia, porque ya desde el prólogo siente la necesidad de justificar su incursión en el mundo de las fantasías eternas que, según sus palabras, constituye “un derecho primordial del artista”. Audacia, porque una vez liberada por el precedente de la hazaña freudiana, se lanza valientemente al encuentro de los contenidos de las fantasías inconscientes, a través de la historia, la literatura, el rumor político, los mitos populares y los temas de ficción científica. Pero si he enfatizado el carácter audaz de su aventura, se debió especialmente a la sinceridad con que plantea sus propias vivencias en aquellos inquietantes parajes donde lo fantástico linda con lo real sin atreverse a “trazar el límite exacto de separación”.

[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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