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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.

 
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Results 1 - 30 of 180 for your search on "anna freud":

1. 
Arlow, J.A. Freud, A. Lampl-De Groot, J. Beres, D. (1968). Panel Discussion. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:506-512. […]
 
2. 
Bernays, A.F. (1989). Mein Bruder Sigmund Freud (1940): Freuds Schwester Anna heiratete Ely Bernays, den Bruder seiner Frau. Sie und ihr Ehemann wanderten Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts nach Amerika aus. Der folgende Beitrag erschien in The American Mercury 51 (1940), S. 335-42.. Luzifer-Amor, 2(3):139-145. […]
 
3. 
Eitingon, M. Freud, A. (1931). II. the C Ongress. Bul. Int. Psychoanal. Assn., 12:508. […]
 
4. 
Freud, A. (1922). Schlagephantasie und Tagtraum. Imago, 8(3):317-332. […]
 
5. 
Freud, A. (1923). EIN HYSTERISCHES SYMPTOM BEI EINEM ZWEIEINVIERTELJÄHRIGEN KINDE. Imago, 9(2):264-265. […]
 
6. 
Freud, A. (1923). The Relation of Beating-Phantasies to a Day-Dream. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 4:89-102. […]
 
7. 
Freud, A. (1926). An Hysterical Symptom in a Child of Two Years and Three Months Old. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 7:227-229. […]
 
8. 
Freud, A. (1927). KORRESPONDENZBLATT DER INTERNATIONALEN PSYCHOANALYTISCHEN VEREINIGUNG. Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 13(4):468-500. […]
 
9. 
Freud, A. (1928). American Psycho-Analytic Association. Bul. Int. Psychoanal. Assn., 9:505. […]
 
10. 
Freud, A. (1928). Announcement by the International Training Commission. Bul. Int. Psychoanal. Assn., 9:385. […]
 
11. 
Freud, A. (1928). Die Einleitung der Kinderanalyse. Almanach der Psychoanalyse, 3:187-198. […]
 
12. 
Freud, A. (1928). I Report of the Tenth International Psycho-Analytical Congress. Bul. Int. Psychoanal. Assn., 9:132-156. […]
 
13. 
Freud, A. (1928). Korrespondenzblatt der Internationalen Psychoanalytischen Vereinigung. Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 14(4):563-572. […]
 
14. 
Freud, A. (1928). KORRESPONDENZBLATT DER INTERNATIONALEN PSYCHOANALYTISCHEN VEREINIGUNG. Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 14(3):424-440. […]
 
15. 
Freud, A. (1928). KORRESPONDENZBLATT DER INTERNATIONALEN PSYCHOANALYTISCHEN VEREINIGUNG. Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 14(2):282-296. […]
 
16. 
Freud, A. (1928). The American Psycho-Analytic Association. Bul. Int. Psychoanal. Assn., 9:275. […]
 
17. 
Freud, A. (1928). Zur Theorie der Kinderanalyse: Vortrag auf dem X. Internationalen Psychoanalytischen Kongreß zu Innsbruck am 3. September 1927. Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 14(2):153-162. […]
 
18. 
Freud, A. (1929). Announcement by the Central Executive. Bul. Int. Psychoanal. Assn., 10:119-120. […]
 
19. 
Freud, A. (1929). Business Meeting. Bul. Int. Psychoanal. Assn., 10:510-526. […]
 
20. 
Freud, A. (1929). Die Beziehungen zwischen Psychoanalyse und Pädagogik. Zeitschrift für psychoanalytische Pädagogik, 3(14-15):445-454. […]
 
21. 
Freud, A. (1929). KORRESPONDENZBLATT DER INTERNATIONALEN PSYCHOANALYTISCHEN VEREINIGUNG. Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 15(4):509-542. […]
 
22. 
Freud, A. (1929). KORRESPONDENZBLATT DER INTERNATIONALEN PSYCHOANALYTISCHEN VEREINIGUNG. Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 15(2-3):362-392. […]
 
23. 
Freud, A. (1929). Letter from Anna Freud to Georg Groddeck, September 7, 1929. The International Psycho-Analytical Library, 105:98. […]
 
24. 
Freud, A. (1929). On the Theory of Analysis of Children. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 10:29-38. […]
 
25. 
Freud, A. (1929). Report of the Eleventh International Psycho-Analytical Congress. Bul. Int. Psychoanal. Assn., 10:489-510. […]
 
26. 
Freud, A. (1930). American Psycho-Analytic Association. Bul. Int. Psychoanal. Assn., 11:242. […]
 
27. 
Freud, A. (1930). British Psycho-Analytical Society. Bul. Int. Psychoanal. Assn., 11:352-353. […]
 
28. 
Freud, A. (1930). British Psycho-Analytical Society. Bul. Int. Psychoanal. Assn., 11:118-119. […]
 
29. 
Freud, A. (1930). KORRESPONDENZBLATT DER INTERNATIONALEN PSYCHOANALYTISCHEN VEREINIGUNG. Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 16(3-4):525-560. […]
 
30. 
Freud, A. (1930). KORRESPONDENZBLATT DER INTERNATIONALEN PSYCHOANALYTISCHEN VEREINIGUNG. Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 16(2):267-281. […]
 
 
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