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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.

(1958). Blaise, E. y Rascovsky, A.: LAS VICISITUDES DE LA EXPRESIÓN DE LA AGRESIVIDAD. “Rev. de Psicoanálisis”, 1956, 362. Rev. psicoanál., 15(1-2):199.

(1958). Revista de Psicoanálisis, 15(1-2):199

Blaise, E. y Rascovsky, A.: LAS VICISITUDES DE LA EXPRESIÓN DE LA AGRESIVIDAD. “Rev. de Psicoanálisis”, 1956, 362

El problema central en la evolución del yo, es la evolución de los instintos y sobre todo la elaboración del instinto de muerte, que si por un lado amenaza al yo, por otra parte constituye el agente esencial al cual el yo modificará las condiciones externas e internas que se oponen a su desenvolvimiento.

Patológicamente, las detenciones y desviaciones del desarrollo evolutivo y expresión de las tendencias agresivas determina el bloqueo afectivo del individuo, no haciendo posible la satisfacción de sus tendencias libidinosas más que en forma incompleta y por mecanismos neuróticos expresados típica y diferentemente en cada una de ellas; de acuerdo con el principio de economía de la energía psíquica, el “quantum” de agresividad no correctamente vertida al exterior retorna al sujeto en forma masoquista, determinando disociación de tendencias si habían ya llegado a fusionarse con la vuelta a situaciones de ambivalencia e incluso módulos de relación pre-objetal. Como ilustración de lo que antecede se exponen y comentan algunos casos clínicos.

Resumen de los autores.

[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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