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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.

Eisnitz, A.J. (1987). Chapter 6: The Perspective of the Self Representation in Dreams. The Interpretations of Dreams in Clinical Work, 69-85.

Eisnitz, A.J. (1987). Chapter 6: The Perspective of the Self Representation in Dreams. The Interpretations of Dreams in Clinical Work , 69-85

Chapter 6: The Perspective of the Self Representation in Dreams Book Information Previous Up Next

Alan J. Eisnitz, M.D.

Dreams abound in contradiction and paradox. While some elements are vivid, others are obscure; some realistic, others fantastic. The dream tense is mainly in the present, yet there is always a focus on the past. Presenting as an outer view, the dream is solely an inner eye. Full of people and events, its content, in the regressed sleep state, comes almost entirely from within the dreamer, the self. Offering clear views of the self and of others, for the most part it presents them in distorted or disguised form. It has been considered a protector of sleep, a fulfiller of wishes, a preserver of sanity, a solver of problems, a discarder of nonessential data and perceptions, and in treatment, a communication to the therapist.

Bertram Lewin (1954) emphasized Freud's introduction of narcissism to dream theory (1917) and extended Freud's view of the dream as a protector of sleep. Sleep is viewed as a regression to narcissism with the dream employed as a means of dealing with those stimuli, inner or outer (the “exceptions” to narcissism), which threaten to disturb the restorative narcissistic regression of sleep.

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