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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 11 (2005)

Issue 1
From the Editor  1
Alan Kubler, Ph.D.
President's Report  4
Francisco González, M.D.
In Memoriam: Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer, Ph.D. (1947-2005)  10
Daphne De Marneffe, Ph.D.
Homosexuality, Homophobia, and Gay-Friendly Psychoanalysis  13
Kenneth Lewes, Ph.D.
Psychoanalysis in Italy: Its Origins and Evolution  35
Di Luca Donna, Ph.D.
Standards and Standardization  60
Owen Renik, M.D.
Tunnel Vision  73
Andrea Cousins, Ph.D., Psy.D.
On Confidentiality  74
Paul Williams, Ph.D., MRIA and In Conversation with Milton Schaefer, Ph.D.
Book Review
Confidentiality: Ethical Perspectives and Clinical Dilemmas edited by C. Levin, M. K. O'Neil, A. Furlong Hillsdale New Jersey: The Analytic Press, 2003. 352 pp.  88
Katherine MacVicar, M.D.
Conversations with Clinicians  92
Antonino Ferro, M.D. and In Conversation with Di Luca Donna, Ph.D.
Conversations with the Arts  99
Forrest Hamer, Ph.D. and In Conversation with Jeanne C. Harasemovitch, LCSW
Transsexualism: Illusion and Reality By Colette Chiland, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2003, (Original French Version, 1997). 193 pp.  120
Ubaldo Leli, M.D.
In the Analyst's Consulting Room By Antonino Ferro (P. Slotkin, Trans.), East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge, 2002. 164 pp.  126
William C. Glover, Ph.D.
The Fabric of Affect in the Psychoanalytic Discourse By Andre Green (A. Sheridan, Trans.), London: Routledge, 1999; 376 pp.  130
Henry F. Smith, M.D.
The Ethic of Honesty: The Fundamental Rule of Psychoanalysis By M. Guy Thompson, Amsterdam-New York, Rodopi, 2004. 169 pp.  137
Harvey Peskin, Ph.D.
Sent Before My Time: A Child Psychotherapist's View of Life on a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit By Margaret Cohen, London: Karnac, 2003. 224 pp.  142
Piera Piagentini, R.N., MFT
Exploring Feeding Difficulties in Children: The Generosity of Acceptance (Volume 1) edited by Gianna Williams, Paul Williams, Jane Desmarais, Kent Ravenscroft, London: Karnac, Ltd., 2004. 150 pp.  147
Richard J. Shaw, M.D.
Issue 2
From the Editor  1
Alan Kubler, Ph.D.
President's Report  4
Francisco González, M.D.
What I Would Not Part With  8
Thomas H. Ogden, M.D.
Mankind's Attempt to Understand Itself: Psychoanalysis and Its Relation to Science and Religion  18
Michael Parsons, MRC, Psych
Hysteria and the “Transformation Spectrum”  34
Amy Bandera, Psy.D.
Book Reviews
Maternal Desire by Daphne de Marneffe New York: Little, Brown and Company; 2004, 401 pp.  51
Maureen Franey, Ph.D., MFT
The Analysts' Analyst Within by Lora Heims Tessman NJ: The Analytic Press, 2003; 363 pp.  56
Zoe Grusky, Ph.D.
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy by Nancy McWilliams New York: The Guilford Press, 2004; 353 pp.  60
Mark Scott, Ph.D.
Exploring Eating Disorders in Adolescents: The Generosity of Acceptance (Volume II) edited by Gianna Williams, Paul Williams, Jane Desmarais, & Kent Ravenscroft London: Karnac, Ltd., 2004; 246 pp.  68
Michael J. Loughran, Ph.D.
Film Review
Intimate Strangers [Confidences Trop Intimes] directed by Patrice Leconte Paramount Classics: 2004, 104 minutes  74
Reyna Cowan, LCSW
Committee Report
Treasurer's Report Fiscal Year July 2004-June 2005  77
Lara Guille, Psy.D.
Membership Committee Report  80
Cleopatra Victoria, MFT
Program Committee Report  81
Peter Straus, Psy.D.
San Francisco/East Bay Education Committee Report  82
Abigail Levinson Marks, Ph.D. and Erika Wandner, Ph.D.
Intensive Study Group (ISG) Committee Report  84
Leslye Russell, MFT and Sue Saperstein, MFT
South Bay Education Committee Report  85
Kali Hess, MFT
Sacramento Valley Education Committee Report  87
Andrea Stone, LCSW and Robert K. Stone, Ph.D.
Interdisciplinary Education Committee Report  88
Eric Essman, M.A.
Associate Member Committee Report  89
Caroline Date
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