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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.

List of Articles

Volume 6 (1978)

I Psychoanalytic History
A Hypothesis Regarding the Origins of Freud's Concepts of the Psychology of Adolescence  3
George H. Klumpner, M.D.
Oedipus and America: Historical Perspectives on the Reception of Psychoanalysis in the United States  23
John Demos
Psychoanalytic Theory and History: Groups and Events  41
Bruce Mazlish, Ph.D. and John Demos
II Some Contributions of Psychoanalysis to a Science of Man
Some Contributions of Psychoanalysis to a Science of Man  67
John E. Gedo, M.D.
A Grammar for the Humanities  75
John E. Gedo, M.D.
Psychoanalytic Aspects of Religious Experience  103
W. W. Meissner, S.J.
The Psychoanalytic Study of Social Phenomena: A Review Essay  143
Mark J. Gehrie, Ph.D.
III Clinical Theory
Affects and the Complementarity of Biologic and Historical Meaning  167
Arnold H. Modell, M.D.
The Transference Enactment of Early Body-Image Determinants  181
J. Gordon Maguire, M.D.
Self Representation and the Capacity for Self Care  209
Henry Krystal, M.D.
Fixation Processes as Illuminated by War Psychopathology  247
Hai Halevi, Ph.D.
Creative Responses to Early Trauma  257
Eric A. Baum, M.D.
Psychological Aspects of Accidents  273
T. L. Dorpat, M.D.
IV Interdisciplinary Research
Critical Notes on Schafer's “Action Language”  287
Barnaby B. Barratt, Ph.D.
Critical Notes on Schafer's “Action Language”  303
Louis A. Fourcher, Ph.D.
Critical Notes on Schafer's “Action Language”  313
Barnaby B. Barratt, Ph.D.
Psychoanalysis, Physics, and the Mind-Body Problem  315
Stephen Toulmin, Ph.D.
Psychoanalysis, Physics, and the Mind-Body Problem  336
Paul Ricoeur, DLITT
Psychoanalysis, Physics, and the Mind-Body Problem  343
Don R. Swanson, Ph.D.
Psychoanalysis and Follow-Up: The Personal and Cultural Meaning of the Experience of a Nisei in Treatment  353
G. Charlotte Babcock, M.D. and J. Mark Gehrie, Ph.D.
The Aesthetic Moment and the Search for Transformation  385
Christopher Bollas, Ph.D.
V Applications
Psychoanalysis and Biography  397
Joseph Lichtenberg, M.D.
Movies in the Seventies: Some Heroic Types  429
Kenneth Newman, M.D.
On Siblings, Childhood Sibling Loss, and Creativity  443
George H. Pollock, M.D., Ph.D.
Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

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