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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 21 (2015)

Issue 1
Editor's Report  1
Alan Kubler, Ph.D.
President's Report  6
Shannon Dubach, Psy.D.
The Analytic Field: Bastions, Surprises, and Movement  11
Cláudio Laks Eizirik, M.D., Ph.D.
Discussion of Cláudio Eizirik's: “The Analytic Field: Bastions, Surprises, and Movement”  32
Georgine Marrott, Ph.D.
The Language of Absence and the Language of Tenderness: Therapeutic Transformation of Early Psychic Trauma and Dissociation as Resolution of the “Identification with the Aggressor”  45
Hayuta Gurevich, M.A.
Discussion of Hayuta Gurevich's “The Language of Absence and the Language of Tenderness”  66
Laurie Case, Ph.D.
Primitive Anxieties and Secondary Skin Formation in Anorexia Nervosa  74
Tom Wooldridge, Psy.D.
Conversations with Clinicians  85
Loong Kwok, Psy.D. and In Conversation with Adam Phillips
Reviews: Book Review Essay
I sensi e l'inconscio [The Senses and the Unconscious] by Giuseppe Civitarese Rome: Edizione Borla, 2014; 255 pp.  102
Luca Nicoli, Psy.D. and Violet Pietrantonio, Psy.D.
Film Review Essay
Boyhood Written and Directed by Richard Linklater IFC Films, 2014; 165 min  111
Peter G. M. Carnochan, Ph.D.
Her Directed by Spike Jonze Annapurna Pictures, 2013; 126 min.Under the Skin Directed by Jonathan Glazer Film 4, 2013; 108 min.Lucy Directed by Luc Besson EuropaCorp, TFI Films Inc., 2014; 89 min.  119
Eric Essman, M.A.
Contributors  126
Issue 2
Letter from the Editor  1
Peter Silen, Ph.D.
President's Report  4
Shannon Dubach, Psy.D
In Memoriam
James Grotstein, M.D. November 1925 - May 30, 2015  7
Patricia Marra
Remembrances of Jim Grotstein  9
Thomas Ogden, M.D.
Dancing with Jim Grotstein  11
Maureen Franey, Ph.D.
Reflections on James S. Grotstein: An Intense Beam of Light  14
Lee Rather, Ph.D.
Eroticism in the Maternal Matrix: Infusion through Development and the Clinical Situation  17
Dianne Elise, Ph.D.
Falling through the Cracks: Precarity, Precocity, and other Neoliberal Pressures  33
Daniel G. Butler, M.A.
Growing Old Together in Mind and Body  53
Andrew Balfour, M.Sc.
Response to Andrew Balfour's “Growing Old Together in Mind and Body”  77
Leslye Russell, MFT
Conversations with Clinicians
In Conversation with Adam Phillips: One Topic and Another, Part Two  86
Loong Kwok, Psy.D
It Made Me  105
Annie Sweetnam, Ph.D.
Reviews: Book Review Esssay
Quartiers aux Rues sans Nom by Dominique Scarfone Paris: Éditions de L'Olivier, 2012; 222 pp.  106
Eric Essman, M.A.
The Analyst's Ear and the Critic's Eye by Benjamin H. Ogden & Thomas H. Ogden New York: Routledge, 2013; 99 pp.  114
Diane M Borden, Ph.D.
Reviews: Film Review Essay
The White Ribbon [Das Weisse Band] written and directed by Michael Haneke 2009; 143 min.  120
Barbara Artson, Ph.D.
Committee Reports
Community Events Committee  125
Stephanie King, Psy.D and Molly Merson, MFT
Education Committee  125
Demetry Apostle, Ph.D.
Impulse Committee  127
Shlomit Gorin, M.A.
Intensive Study Group Committee  128
Sharon Bass, Ph.D. and Eric Essman, M.A.
Membership Committee  129
Amber Trotter, Psy.D
Pre-Licensed Clinicians Committee  129
Jason Butler, Psy.D
Program Committee Report  130
Susanna Bernat, Ph.D.
Ncspp Treasurer Report  131
Leigh Lyndon, PsyD
Contributors  134
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