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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 31 (2008)

Issue 1
Editorial  1
David Titelman
Countertransference and the characters of the psychoanalytic session  3
Antonino Ferro, M.D. and Roberto Basile, M.D.
Fumbling Words: Similarities Between Poetry and the Early Stages of Interpretation  11
Marita Niemi, MSC
Primal seduction in the psychoanalytic relation  21
Enar Olsson, MSC
Bodily symptoms and a psychoanalytic model of affect  29
Erkki Äärelä, M.D.
Bridges over troubled waters: A Relational Approach to Fatherless Boys and a Male Therapist  38
Jari Sinkkonen, M.D., Ph.D. and Matti Keinänen, M.D., Ph.D.
Naturalistic studies of psychoanalytic treatments: Some epistemological and methodological remarks  50
Siegfried Zepf, Dr Med
Reports and Brief Communications
Some personal additions to Killingmo: Relational-oriented character analysis. A position in contemporary psychoanalysis. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 30: 76-83  61
Carl Severin Albretsen
The Activities of the Scandinavian Societies 2007: Scientific Meetings  64
Book Section
Samlade Skrifter Av Sigmund Freud, ix, Konst Och Litteratur. [The collected writings of Sigmund Freud, XI. Art and literature]. Clarence Crafoord (volume editor). Stockholm: Natur och Kultur.  68
Mikael Enckell
The Difficulty of Writing about Writing. Fågel, fisk eller fjäril? Essäer om skrivande [Bird, fish or butterfy: essays on writing]. By Else-Britt Kjellqvist. Stockholm: Carlssons, 2007.  70
Daniel Frydman
Issue 2
Editorial  75
David Titelman
Some Thoughts on Happy and Unhappy Love  77
Esa Roos, Phil. Mag., psychologist
Neutrality, Tenderness and the Analyst's Subjectivity: Reflections on the analytic relationship  86
Anders Zachrisson, Fil. Lic.
Run or Die: Bi-Logical Phenomena at the Body-Mind Border  95
Timo Niemi, M.D., Ph.D. and Riccardo Lombardi, M.D.
A Single-Case Study on the Process and Outcome of Psychoanalysis  105
Imre Szecsödy, M.D., Ph.D.
The Enigmatic “Nature of the Subject” With philosophy at the interface of psychoanalysis and society  114
Jurgen Reeder, Ph.D.
Reports and Brief Communications
Moses and Freud: “God is in the Detail”  122
Mikael Enckell
Book Section
Fokus På Freud (Focus on Freud). By: Ole Andkjær Olsen, Christian Braad Thomsen & Ben te Petersen (eds.). Kobenhavn: Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2006.  126
Sølvi Kristansen
Psykoanalysens Aktualitet [The Actuality of Psychoanalysis]. Bent Rosenbaum, Stefan Balint, Judy Gammelgård, Susanne Lunn & Søren Aagaard (eds.): Copenhagen: Forlaget Multivers ApS, 2007  128
Per Anthi
Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience. By: Mauro Mancia (ed.). Milan: Springer, 2006.  131
Henrik Enckell
The Unconscious is Lost: The evocative object world and The infinite question By Christopher Bollas. Cover illustration by the author New York and London: Routledge, 2009  133
Anna Sylvén
Nuoren Aikuisen Psykodynaaminen Psykoterapia [The Psychodynamic Psychotherapy of Young Adults] By Matti Keinänen & Päivikki Engblom Kustannus. Helsinki: Oy Duodecim, 2007.  136
Anneli Larmo
Fiffi Piene: 1918-2008  139
Torhild Leira
Gerd Sundblad: 1945-2008  140
Alexander Wilczek
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