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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 28 (1947)

The Psycho-Analyst  1
On the Development of the Ego and Super-Ego  7
Jeanne Lampl-De Groot
Three Dreams of Descartes  11
J. O. Wisdom
Transference Sleep in a Neurosis with Duodenal Ulcer  18
Leo Stone
The Analysis of an Exhibitionist  32
Melitta Sperling
'Telepathy and Problems of Psycho-Analysis.': Jule Eisenbud, M.D. (New York).  45
Kate Friedlander
'The Function of Drawings and the Meaning of the "Creative Spell" in a Schizophrenic Artist.': Else Pappenheim, M.D. and Ernst Kris, Ph.D. (New York).  46
Kate Friedlander
'Psycho-Analysis and History. The Nibelungs and the Bible.': Fritz Wittels, M.D. (New York).  46
Kate Friedlander
'Psychology of Time Perception.': Edmund Bergler, M.D. and Géza Róheim, Ph.D. (New York).  47
Kate Friedlander
'On Acting.': Otto Fenichel.  47
Kate Friedlander
'Unconscious Factors in Group Therapy.': Geraldine Pederson-Krag, M.D. (New York).  47
Kate Friedlander
'Dreams and Acting Out.': Richard Sterba, M.D. (Detroit).  48
Kate Friedlander
'Psycho-Analysis of a Case of Paranoia.': Ludwig Eidelberg.  48
Frank Berner
'On the Psychology of Detective Stories and Related Problems.': Leopold Bellak.  48
Frank Berner
'The Extension of Basic Scientific Laws to Psycho-Analysis and to Psychology.': Leopold Bellak and Rudolf Ekstein.  48
Frank Berner
'Specific Types of Resistance in Orally Regressed Neurotics.': Edmund Bergler.  49
Frank Berner
'The Genesis of Reality Testing.': Angel Garma.  49
Sylvan Keiser
'Some Remarks on Freud's Place in the History of Science.': Otto Fenichel.  49
Sylvan Keiser
'Masochism in Paranoia.': Robert C. Bak.  49
Sylvan Keiser
'A Case of Sterility.': Edith Jacobsen.  49
Sylvan Keiser
'A Depression which Recurred Annually.': George Frumkes.  50
Sylvan Keiser
'Sleep, the Mouth and Dream Screen.': Bertram D. Lewin.  50
Sylvan Keiser
'Constant Elements in Psycho-Therapy.': C. P. Oberndorf.  50
Sylvan Keiser
'Fetishism and Object Choice in Early Childhood.': M. Wulff.  50
Sylvan Keiser
'On Querulence.': Melitta Schmideberg.  50
Sylvan Keiser
'The Oedipus Complex and Infantile Sexuality.': Géza Róheim.  50
Sylvan Keiser
The Eternal Ones of the Dream: By Géza Róheim. (Published by The International Universities Press, New York, 1945. Pp. xiv + 270. Price $4.50.)  51
Audrey R. Richards
The Mass Psychology of Fascism: By Wilhelm Reich. Trans. by Theodore P. Wolfe. (Orgone Institute Press, New York, 1946. Pp. 344. Price $4.50.)  52
Abram Blau
Insight and Personality Adjustment. A Study of the Psychological Effects of War: By Therese Benedek, M.D. (The Ronald Press Company, New York, 1946. Pp. xi + 307. Price, $4.00.)  53
R. E. Money-Kyrle
Ella Freeman Sharpe—An Appreciation  54
Sylvia M. Payne
John B. Solley  56
The Bulletin of the International Psycho-Analytic Association, Volume 28, pp. 56-220  56
Notes on Psycho-Analysis and Integrative Living  57
Marjorie Brierley
Narcissistic Equilibrium  106
Henry Harper Hart, M.D.
The Super-Ego and Other Internal Objects  114
Adrian Stephen
War, Sadism and Pacifism—Further Essays on Group Psychology and War: By Edward Glover, M.D. (George Allen & Unwin, 1947. Pp. 292. Price 9 s. 6 d.)  117
J. C. Flugel
The Anatomy of Lango Religion and Groups. By T. T. S. Hayley. (Cambridge University Press, 1947. Pp. xi + 207. Price 21 s.)  120
Roger E. Money-Kyrle
Ernst Simmel: 1882–1947  121
Ernst Lewy, M.D.
Science and Belief  123
C. H. Waddington
Analysis of a Schizophrenic State with Depersonalization  130
Herbert Rosenfeld
On the Intense Affects Encountered in Treating a Severe Manic-Depressive Disorder  139
W. Clifford M. Scott
Circumcision and Problems of Bisexuality  145
Herman Nunberg
A Generalized Hedonic Theory of the Ego  179
W. Baggally
A Note on a Child's Game  198
W. Baggally
A Brief Memoir  200
Sigmund Freud: An Introduction: By Walter Hollitscher, D.Ph. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., London, 1947. Pp. viii + 119. Price 8 s. 6d.)  201
R. Money Kyrle
Ego Hunger and Aggression: A Revision of Freud's Theory and Method. By F. S. Perls. (Allen & Unwin, London. Pp. 373.)  201
Daniel K. Dreyfuss
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