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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.

Williams, M.H. (2005). The Vale of Soulmaking: The Post-Kleinian Model of the Mind and its Poetic Origins. Karnac Books Ltd..

Williams, M.H. (2005). The Vale of Soulmaking. , 1-251. Karnac Books Ltd..

The Vale of Soulmaking: The Post-Kleinian Model of the Mind and its Poetic Origins

Meg Harris Williams

To joie Macaulay, who taught me to read poetry, and to Donald Meltzer, who taught me to read myself

There is an active

Principle in them;

Which is not giving,

Is not receiving;

Is not the forcive

Nor the passive lust;

Which forgives tolerance

And indignation;

Is river and bed:

It is the needle

Point and thread, piercing

All receiving all;

Is identical

Imagination.

Roland J. Harris, “Prologue” to Little Sonnets

This Page Left Intentionally Blank

Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ix
FOREWORD  
  Donald Meltzer xi
Introduction 1
1 The stroke of the axe 11
2 The evolution of Psyche 27
3 Milton as Muse 59
4 The fall and rise of Eve 83
5 Oedipus at the crossroads 103
6 The weavings of Athene 125
7 Cleopatra's monument 149
8 Creativity and the countertransference  
  Donald Meltzer 175
9 Post-Kleinian poetics 183
APPENDIX A  
Rosemary's roots: The Muse in Bion's autobiographies 201
APPENDIX B  
Confessions of an emmature superego or, the Ayah's lament 221
BIBLIOGRAPHY 241
INDEX 244

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank my husband, Adrian Williams, who, in addition to my stepfather, has faithfully read the innumerable drafts and revisions of this book and of all my previous books and writings.

[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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