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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 15 (2014)

Issue 1
Editor's Note
Editor’s Note  1
Muriel Dimen, Ph.D.
Female Childhood Orgasms: Findings From Adult Analysis  3
Eleanor Schuker, M.D.
Intimate Contexts: New Research on Sex Workers and Their Customers in Cambodia
Introduction  20
Katie Gentile, Ph.D.
“Caught Between the Tiger and the Crocodile”: Cambodian Sex Workers’ Experiences of Structural and Physical Violence  22
Melissa Hope Ditmore, Ph.D.
Debt Bondage in Cambodia’s Past—and Implications for Its Present  32
Trude Jacobsen, Ph.D.
Prostitution and the Politics of HIV Prevention in Cambodia: A Historical Case Study  44
Joanna R. Busza, M.Sc.
Gendered Motivations, Sociocultural Constraints, and Psychobehavioral Consequences of Transnational Partnerships in Cambodia  54
Heidi Hoefinger, Ph.D.
Prostitution, Sex Work, and Violence: Lessons From the Cambodian Context  73
Martin A. Monto, Ph.D.
Issue 2
The Giard Portfolio
Introduction to The Giard Portfolio: A Man for All Seasons  85
Muriel Dimen, Ph.D.
Facing Facts: An Analysis of the Early “Nude Self-Portraits” by Robert Giard  88
Allen Ellenzweig, M.F.A.
Prima Facie: The Photograph, the Unphotographed, and the Boston School  103
Michael Jay McClure, Ph.D.
Robert Giard’s Road Trip and the Older Women He Met: “I Believe We’ve Both Had a Good Time”  121
Dolores Klaich, B.A
The Teacher as Accidental Archivist  133
Jonathan Silin, ED.D.
Through the Lens of Psychoanalysis: The Photographic Portraiture of Robert Giard—A Panel Discussion  143
Muriel Dimen, Ph.D., Hazel Ipp, Ph.D., Adrienne Harris, Ph.D., Virginia Goldner, Ph.D. and Ken Corbett, Ph.D.
Discarded Histories and Queer Affects in Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red  154
Dina Georgis, Ph.D.
Issue 3
The Death-Mother in Psycho: Hitchcock, Femininity, and Queer Desire  167
David Greven, Ph.D.
Growing Up in the Old Left: An Intergenerational Tale of Silence and Terror  182
Lisa Lyons, Ph.D.
Time and Timelessness in the Psychoanalysis of an Adult With Severe Childhood Trauma  199
William Auerbach, Ph.D.
Temporal Vertigo: A Roundtable Discussion of Lynne Segal’s Out of Time: The Pleasures and Perils of Ageing
Temporal Vertigo: The Paradoxes of Ageing  214
Lynne Segal, Ph.D.
Temporal Vertigo: Mourning, Loss, and Survival  223
Stephen Frosh, Ph.D.
Duration, Skin, and the Ageing Subject  228
Lisa Baraitser, Ph.D.
On Temporal Vertigo  235
Simon Watney, M.A.
The Pleasures and Perils of Inheritance  239
Daniel Monk
At Home With Derek Jarman  244
Matt Cook, Ph.D.
Issue 4
Editorial Board EOV  0
Symonds Prize 2014
Introduction: 2014 Symonds Prize Essay  251
Lisa Baraitser, Ph.D. and Muriel Dimen, Ph.D.
To Suffer Pleasure: The Shattering of the Ego as the Psychic Labor of Perverse Sexuality  254
Avgi Saketopoulou, Psy.D.
Uses of Perversity: Commentary on Saketopoulou’s “To Suffer Pleasure”  269
Tim Dean, Ph.D.
Pleasure Principles: Reflections on Saketopoulou’s “To Suffer Pleasure”  278
Francisco J. González, M.D.
Pleasure Acts Upon Us: Discussion of Commentaries by Dean and González  285
Avgi Saketopoulou, Psy.D.
Talking Sex, Talking Gender—A Roundtable
Introduction to the Roundtable  292
Eyal Rozmarin, Ph.D.
Talking Sex, Talking Gender—A Roundtable  295
Ken Corbett, Ph.D., Muriel Dimen, Ph.D., Virginia Goldner, Ph.D. and Adrienne Harris, Ph.D.
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