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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.

Hoffer, P.T. (2000). Translator's Note to the Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi Volume 3, 1920-1933. The Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi Volume 3, 1920-1933, vii-viii.

Hoffer, P.T. (2000). Translator's Note to the Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi Volume 3, 1920-1933. The Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi Volume 3, 1920-1933, vii-viii

Translator's Note to the Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi Volume 3, 1920-1933 Book Information Previous Up Next

Peter T. Hoffer

All Translations Require a compromise between a desire to retain the literal meaning and stylistic peculiarities of the original and the need to render it in acceptable, idiomatic English. Translations that are too literal are often cumbersome or stilted, whereas those that attempt to follow the norms of colloquial English run the risk of losing or distorting some essential meaning. In translating the letters of Freud and Ferenczi, an attempt has been made to retain, to the fullest extent possible, the style and meaning of the original. This entailed having to render many of Freud's idiosyncratic and imaginative metaphorical constructions in forms that have no exact English equivalent while retaining the otherwise precise yet uniquely intimate conversational tone of his epistolary prose style. In the case of Ferenczi, whose native tongue was Hungarian and whose German was flawed, obvious grammatical and stylistic errors have been silently corrected. But at the same time an effort has been made to translate certain peculiarities of Ferenczi's formal yet flowery, enthusiastic, and occasionally redundant prose into English. Correctness of style has thus, in some instances, been sacrificed for the sake of authenticity.

Certain conventions of translation have been adhered to throughout the volume. Salutations and closings have for the most part been standardized, except in a few instances where certain personal remarks were included. Abbreviations of names and terms regularly used by both writers have been silently spelled out, with the exception of the commonly used ΨA (ψα) for psychoanalysis and cs., pcs., and ucs. for conscious, preconscious, and unconscious, respectively. Original spellings of names and places have, for the most part, been retained.

Recent criticisms by Bruno Bettelheim, Darius Ornston, and others of James Strachey's translation in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud have been taken into account in translating the correspondence.

[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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