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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.

Strachey, J. (1955). Bibliography. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume II (1893-1895): Studies on Hysteria, 313-319.

Strachey, J. (1955). [SEB313a1]Bibliography. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume II (1893-1895): Studies on Hysteria, 313-319

[SEB313a1]Bibliography Book Information Previous Up Next

James Strachey

[SEB313a2]Bibliography and Author Index

[SEB313a3][Titles of books and periodicals are in italics; titles of papers are in inverted commas. Abbreviations are in accordance with the World List of Scientific Periodicals (London, 1952). Further abbreviations used in this volume will be found in the List at the end of this bibliography. Numerals in thick type refer to volumes; ordinary numerals refer to pages. The figures in round brackets at the end of each entry indicate the page or pages of this volume on which the work in question is mentioned. In the case of the Freud entries, the letters attached to the dates of publication are in accordance with the corresponding entries in the complete bibliography of Freud's writings to be included in the last volume of the Standard Edition.

[SEB313a4]For non-technical authors, and for technical authors where no specific work is mentioned, see the General Index.]

Benedikt, M. (1894) Hypnotismus und Suggestion, Vienna. (210)

Berger, A. von (1896) Review of Breuer and Freud's Studien über Hysteric, Neus Freie Presse, Feb. 2. (xv)

Bernheim, H. (1886) De la suggestion et de ses applications à la thérapeutique, Paris, (xi, 67, 77)

Bernheim, H. (1891) Hypnatisme, suggestion et psychothérapie: études nouvelles, Paris. (xi)

Binet, A. (1892) Les altérations de la personnalité, Paris. (7)

Breuer, J., and Freud, S. (1893) See Freud, S. (1893a)

Breuer, J., and Freud, S. (1895) See Freud, S.

[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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