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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.

Euredjian, M. (1959). Hilgard J. R. and Newman M. F.: Anniversaries in Mental Illness. (Aniversarios en la enfermedad mental). 1959, 22, 113-121.. Rev. psicoanál., 16(3):272-273.

(1959). Revista de Psicoanálisis, 16(3):272-273

REVISTA DE REVISTAS: PSYCHIATRY

Hilgard J. R. and Newman M. F.: Anniversaries in Mental Illness. (Aniversarios en la enfermedad mental). 1959, 22, 113-121.

Review by:
Manase Euredjian

Los autores transcriben los primeros resultados de una investigación sobre casos de reacciones de aniversario en pacientes hospitalizados. Después de transformarse en padre el paciente desarrolla una psicosis o una severa neurosis que parece la representación de un aniversario, o de hechos importantes de su propia infancia, particularmente la pérdida del padre o de la madre.

El presente estudio ha sido realizado sobre material psicótico pero con pacientes cuyo principio de realidad se ha mantenido intacto hasta después del matrimonio. Parten del postulado de que el síntoma psicótico hará eclosión cuando el paciente se aproxime a la edad en que se produjo la muerte de su padre, o cuando su propio hijo llegue a la edad que él tenía cuando murió su padre.

Una primera comprobación es la de que el cuadro es más frecuente en las mujeres que en los hombres en la proporción de 5 a 1, constituyendo esto el material de un estudio que se está haciendo por separado. A su vez es más frecuente el número de mujeres que han perdido a sus madres.

Presentan dos casos clínicos detallados, uno el de una esquizofrenia catatónica y el otro de una paranoica. En ellas tratan de demostrar los autores que el aniversario es algo más que una mera coincidencia.

Resulta decisivo el período del desarrollo en que el niño ha sufrido la pérdida.

[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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