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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.

di San Leo, G.A. (1958). Rangell, L.: THE ANALYSIS OF A DOLL PHOBIA. (Análisis de una fobia a los muñecos). Int. J. Psicho-Anal., 1952, 43. Rev. psicoanál., 15(1-2):189.

(1958). Revista de Psicoanálisis, 15(1-2):189

Rangell, L.: THE ANALYSIS OF A DOLL PHOBIA. (Análisis de una fobia a los muñecos). Int. J. Psicho-Anal., 1952, 43

Review by:
G. Amici di San Leo

Rangell expone el resultado de su labor analítica de tres años, con un paciente de 38 años que desde los cinco padecía de una intensa fobia a los muñecos y a toda figura tridimensional, especialmente con apariencia humana (maniquíes, juguetes, figuras de exposición, etc.). La fobia aumentaba de intensidad en proporción a la fragilidad del material que constituía la figura y a la mayor apariencia de vida proporcionada por movimientos, partes prominentes de fácil rotura, etc.

A través del análisis se descubren los diversos significados inconscientes del “muñeco”, que simultáneamente y entrelazados entre sí, se expresan en el síntoma fóbico. El “muñeco”, representa: a) el pene del paciente expuesto a explotar o a desprenderse, posibilidad derivada de sus experiencias masturbatorias infantiles; b) sus excrementos, que desde los 3 a los 4 años y medio fueron “quitados” por madre mediante enemas, razón de su intensa fijación anal; c) el “muñeco” es también el cuerpo del paciente en su totalidad, identificado con un pene; d) es el genital femenino al que siempre creyó dotado de un clitoris interior similar a un pene; e) es la madre fálica y castradora, que lo “priva” de su materia fecal; f) el pene del padre, deseado y simultáneamente temido; g) una hermana muerta tres años antes de su nacimiento (“frágil como una muñeca”), y cuya suerte él también puede correr.

Esta curiosa fobia, prácticamente eliminada por el análisis, representa, no solamente en los distintos planos observados, la angustia frente a la temida castración, sino que expresa también un rechazo, al ser la muñeca un objeto de juego femenino, de tendencias homosexuales.

G. Amici di San Leo.

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