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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.

de Pichon Rivière, A.A. (1958). Borntein, Berta: CLINICAL NOTES ON CHILD ANALYSIS. (Notas Clínicas sobre análisis de los niños). “The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child”, Intern. Universities Press, 1945, 1, 151. Rev. psicoanál., 15(1-2):178.

(1958). Revista de Psicoanálisis, 15(1-2):178

Borntein, Berta: CLINICAL NOTES ON CHILD ANALYSIS. (Notas Clínicas sobre análisis de los niños). “The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child”, Intern. Universities Press, 1945, 1, 151

Review by:
A. A. de Pichon Rivière

El niño no va al análisis por su voluntad, generalmente no siente molestias por sus síntomas siendo el medio ambiente quien los padece, rechaza la ayuda analítica porque no la comprende y además durante el análisis no es capaz de dar asociaciones verbales faltando así el instrumento fundamental del análisis de adultos. Todos estos hechos hacen que el análisis del niño difiera del de adultos en euanto a la técnica de acercamiento al inconsciente. La autora sigue las normas técnicas de Anna Freud realizando una labor previa que pone al niño en condiciones de ser analizado, dándole conciencia de enfermedad y deseos de modificar su estado. Cree también que si bien el niño hace una transferencia en el sentido amplio de la palabra (las actitudes emocionales frente al analista repiten sus relaciones infantiles con los padres) no hace por regla general una verdadera “neurosis de transferencia” porque los síntomas no están centrados alrededor de la persona del analista ni tampoco alrededor de los acontecimientos que tienen lugar durante la sesión analítica. Según la autora esto se explica porque el niño no necesita repetir sus reacciones de un modo substitutivo, ya que todavía posee, en la realidad, sus objetos de amor originarios.

Frente a la imposibilidad de conseguir del niño asociaciones verbales no se siente inclinada a utilizar la técnica de juego creada por Klein.

[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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