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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.

 
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N

N, B.N. Stern, Daniel N.NEUMANN, ERICHNEWMAN, K. D.
NUNBERG, HERMANNNa, Dek L.Naar, RayNaccache, Lionel
Nácher, P. G.Nácher, Pedro G.Nachin, C.Nachin, Claude
Nachman, Larry D.Nachman, Patricia A.Nachman, PatriciaNachmani, Gilead
Nachmanovitch, StephenNachmansohn, M.Nacht, S.Nacht, Sacha
NachtNackt, S.Nacu, AnatolNadel, Lynn
Nadelman, Maurice S.Nadelson, Carol C.Nadelson, CarolNadelson, Theodore
Naderi, PartawNadig, MayaNadler, Hannah B.Naef
Naegele, JoanneNaevestad, MarieNaffah Neto, AlfredoNaftalin, Moses
Nagai, ChikakoNagata, Donna K.Nagel, Julie J.Nagelberg, Leo
Nagell, WaltraudNagera, H.Nagera, HumbertoNaght, S.
Nagler, Simon H.Nagy, MarilynNahmias, Maria Vera L.Nahon, Leo
Nahum, Jeremy P.Nahum, JeremyNahum, TaniaNaiburg, Suzi
Naifeh, SamNaiman, J.Naiman, JamesNaiman, M. J.
Naja, Carine K.Najeeb, ShahidNakanishi, KazunoriNakari, George
Nakash, OraNakazawa, Shin'ichiNakhla, FayekNamer, Albert
Namir, SheilaNamnum, AlfredoNandy, AshisNanzer, Nathalie
Napier, A. D.Napier, JenniferNapoli, CarolNapoli, Maria
Napolitani, DiegoNapolitano, FrancescoNapolitano, StefaniaNapthine, Geoff
Naranjo, ClaudioNarayanan, A.Narcisi, Calvern E.Nardi, Laura
Nardi, MassimoNardone, MariaNarducci, JuliaNarici-Sicouri, Lucilla
Nartin, J. C.Narva, AdamNarváez, FernandoNascimbene, T.
Nascimbene, TamaraNascimento, Leonardo N.Nase, EckartNash, Debra
Nash, James L.Nash, JoNash, MargaretNash, Michael R.
Naso, Ronald C.Nason, Jeffrey D.Nass, Martin L.Nasser, Alan G.
Nassikas, KostasNast, Heidi J.Nastasi, AntoineNastri, Laura
Natali, LiviaNatali, MarcoNatali, PaolaNatanson, Maurice
Natchez, GladysNath, SanjayNathan, GillNathan, Jack
Nathan, Kathryn L.Nathan, KathrynNathan, PamelaNathan, Stockhamer
Nathan, TobieNathan, WernerNathaniel, RogerNathans, Shelley
Nathanson, ArielNathanson, Donald L.Natorp-Husmann, Elke-AntoniaNatsoulas, Thomas
Natterson, Joseph M.Natterson, JosephNaubaur, CarolineNaumann-Lenzen, Michael
Naumburg, MargaretNauta, ElsbethNauta, L. W.Navaratnem, Kannan
Navarrete, Milagros O.Navarri, PascaleNavarro, ÁngelaNavarro, Bárbara
Navas Perissinotti, Dirce M.Navridi, EvanthiaNayar, Kavita I.Nayar, Monisha C.
Nayar, MonishaNayar-Akhtar, Monisha C.Nayar-Akhtar, MonishaNayman, Shira
Nayrou, FélicieNazırı, DespınaNaziri, DespinaNazzaro, Maria P.
Neaman, GillNeau, FrançoiseNebbiosi, GianniNebel, Sue S.
Necander-Redell, LenaNedelmann, CarlNedjam, ZahiaNeedell, Stanley S.
Needles, WilliamNeeld, RebeccaNeely, CarlaNegele, Alexa
Negri, IsabellaNegri, RomanaNegrini, Silvia M.Nehrig, Nicole J.
Nehrig, NicoleNeiderhiser, Jenae M.Neiderhiser, JenaeNeiditsch, J.
Neiditsch, S.Neiditsch, SaraNeil Alford ProductionsNeil, Marta
Neill, A. S.Neki, J. S.Nelken, JanNelken, Melissa L.
Nelken, Michael A.Nelki, JuliaNell, DonnetteNelson, Benjamin
Nelson, Charles A.Nelson, Judith K.Nelson, Katharine J.Nelson, Marie C.
Nelson, Phillip G.Nelson, ThorNelson, W. M.Nemas de Urman, Clara R.
Nemas, Clara R.Nemas, ClaraNemes, LiviaNemetz, Lillian B.
Nemetz, S. J.Nemiah, John C.Nemiroff, HeleneNemiroff, Marc
Nemiroff, Robert A.Nemirovski, Julia P.Nemirovsky, CarlosNencini, Graziella
Nencini, M. G.Nepalleck, RichardNepalleckNepallek
Neppi-Modona, MarcoNerenz, KlausNeri, AntonioNeri, C.
Neri, ClaudioNeri, G.Neri, GiovanniNern, Rolf D.
Nersessian, EdwardNesbit, JudithNesci, Domenico A.Ness, Elisabeth
Nesse, Randolph M.Nestler, VeronicaNeto, José Martins C.Netter, Maurice
Nettleton, SarahNetzer, CarolNetzer-Stein, AntjeNeu, Jerome
Neubahr, CarolineNeubauer, JohnNeubauer, Peter B.Neubauer, Peter
Neubaur, CarolineNeubert, VerenaNeuburger, Roberto P.Neudert-Dreyer, Lisbeth
Neugebauer, RichardNeuhaus, HaraldNeukom, MariusNeuman, Justin
Neuman, YairNeumann, B.Neumann, BertaNeumann, Charles P.
Neumann, E.Neumann, HarryNeumann, Jean E.Neumann, Jean
Neumann, Joh.Neumann, JohankesNeumann, JohannesNeumann-Schönwetter, Marina
NeumannNeumarkt, PaulNeurath, LilyNeuringer, Charles
Neuroses, NullifiedNeuville-Noir, ColetteNevas, DebraNeve, Michael
Neven, Ruth S.Neville, BernieNew, CarolineNewberger, Jill
Newbery, BenedictNewbigin, JulietNewbolt, RachelNewcombe, Rachel
Newham, PaulNewirth, Joseph W.Newirth, JosephNewman, Alexander
Newman, C. J.Newman, CarlNewman, DavidNewman, Gail M.
Newman, IsraelNewman, JeffreyNewman, Kenneth M.Newman, Kenneth
Newman, Lawrence E.Newman, Lottie M.Newman, Lucile F.Newman, Mildred R.
Newman, RichardNewman, Robert D.Newman, StephanieNewmark, Kevin
Newmarkt, PaulNewrith, ChrisNewsom, Gavin E.Newsom, Gavin
Newsome, FayeNewsome, MaryNewstadt, IngridNewton, Caroline
Newton, JohnNewton, K. M.Newton, K.Newton, Kate
Newton, KathleenNewton, Peter M.Newton, Stephen J.Neyraut, M.
Neyraut, MichelNeyraut-Sutterman, Marie-ThérèseNeyraut-Sutterman, Th.Neyraut-Sutterman, Thérèse
Ng, M. L.Nguyen, LeanhNguyen-Thanh, MoniqueNicasi, Stefania
Nichini, CristianoNichol, DavidNicholas, JohnNicholls, Leanne
Nicholls, LindseyNichols, BrentNichols, Bryan K.Nichols, Christopher
Nichols, ElizabethNicholsen, Shierry W.Nicholsen, ShierryNicholson, Timothy
Nicklin, GeorgeNickman, Steven L.Nickoloff, Steven E.Nicola, Perrotti
Nicolai, Nelleke J.Nicolaï, NellekeNicolai, NellekeNicolaïdis, Graziella
Nicolaïdis, N.Nicolaïdis, NicosNicolaidis, NicosNicolaïdis, Nikos
Nicolais, GiampaoloNicolas, NicolasNicolas, Sylvie P.Nicoli, Luca
Nicolini, MarieNicolini, WilhelmNicollier, D.Nicolò Corigliano, Anna M.
Nicolò, Anna M.Nicolo, Anna M.Nicolò, AnnaNicolò, Giuseppe
Nicolussi, Gian F.Nicolussi, GianfrancoNiculescu, DanNiedecken, Dietmut
Niederhoeffer, v.Niederland, William G.Niedermann, JuliusNiedieck
Niehaus, MichaelNiehoff, DebraNields, Jenifer A.Nielsen, Arthur
Nielsen, Geir H.Nielsen, Harriet B.Nielsen, HenrikNielsen, Jan
Nielsen, M. M.Nielsen, Margarete M.Nielsen, Mary L.Nielsen, Niels P.
Nielsen, NilsNielsenNiemeyer, ChristianNiemi, Marita
Niemi, TimoNiemira, Jan C.Nierenberg, Harry H.Nierenberg, Marvin A.
Nierenberg, OnaNiers, PieterNiesser, ArthurNieto, Marta
Nieto, P.NietzscheNigianni, ChrysanthiNigolian, Irène
Nijssens, LiesbetNikelly, Arthur G.Nikelly, ArthurNikitiades, Adella
Niklewski, GünterNikolinakos, DrakonNiles, Gerald T.Niles, Gerald
Nilman, IlanNilsen, Håvard F.Nilsson, AlfNilsson, May
Nilsson, ThomasNilsson-Schönnesson, LenaNilssonová, MayNimroody, Tehela
Nininger, Engel S.Nininger, Eugene V.Nininger, EugeneNishizono, Masahisa
Nissen, BerndNissenfeld, StevenNissim, L.Nissim, Luciana
Nissim, SimonaNissim-Sabat, MarilynNistri, S.Nitis, Tommy
Nitsun, MorrisNitzschke, BerndNiv, Molly D.Nix, Christoph
Nixon, William R.Njiokiktjien, CharlesNnsio, Juan-DavidNoack, Amélie
Noam, Gil G.Nobel, LeoNobili, DanielaNoble, Doublas
Noble, DouglasNobus, DanyNocentini, CarlaNocentini, Carlo
Nociforo, NicolaNodet, CH.-H.Nødland, Thoralv S.Noé, Eli
Noël, J.Noel-Smith, KellyNoemi, Carmen C.Noerr, Annelinde E.
Noerr, Gunzelin S.Nogueira, MiguelNol, JoNolan, Pauline
Noland, Richard W.Noles, AnaNolet, Marie-FranceNolfe, Giovanni
Noll, R.Noll, RichardNolle, TobiasNölle
Nöllmann, Jorge E.Nollmann, Jorge E.Nolte, TobiasNoltenius, Rainer
Noonan, EllenNoonan, JanetNoonan, MaryellenNoordsij, Johan
Nordhaus, Barbara F.Norell, MargitNoriega, Jose P.Norlander, Kara
Norman†, JohanNorman, Haskell F.Norman, JohanNormand, Henri
Normand, William C.Normandin, LinaNormann-Eide, EivindNormansell, Larry
Norring, ClaesNorris, EmmaNorris, Katharine A.Norsa, Diana
Norsa, LuigiaNorth, JoannaNorth, RogerNorthcut, Terry
Northoff, GeorgNorthrup, George H.Norton, Janice E.Norton, Janice
Norton, JoyNorton, NeaNorton, RictorNorton, Sheila
Nos, Jaıme P.Nos, Jaime P.Nosek, LeopoldNoshpitz, Joseph D.
Nossal, BrigidNotaerts, LizaNotarius, Clifford I.Noth, Isabelle
Notman, Malkah T.Notman, MalkahNotterman, Joseph M.Nottet, Pascal
Nougier, VincentNouvet, ClaireNovac, AndreiNovack, Danielle
Novack, Stacey L.Novack, StaceyNovak, Barbara J.Novak, Mark W.
Novakovic, VladanNovakovix, AleksandraNovelletto, A.Novelletto, Arnaldo
Novelli, Mirella C.Nover, AiméeNovey, RivaNovey, Samuel
Novick, JackNovick, Kerry K.Novick, Mark R.Novie, Gregory
Novis-Deutsch, NuritNovominsky, FloraNovotny, Kate M.Novotny, Peter C.
Novotny, PeterNoy, PinchasNoy-Sharav, DoritNoyes, John K.
Noyes, LeslyeNtedieckNucara, GiuseppeNuckolls, Charles W.
Nuetzel, Eric J.Nuijten, KeesNumberg, HermanNunberg, H.
Nunberg, HenryNunberg, HermanNunbergHans, HermannNunberg
Nunburg, H.Nunes, Eustachio P.Nunes, João V.Nunes, Maria L.
Nunes, Maria Lucia T.Nunes, Maria T.Nunes, TielletNunn, Robert R.
Nunn, T. P.Nunokawa, JeffNurka, CamilleNurnberg, H. G.
Nürnberger, SilviaNusbaum, BarbaraNusbaum, Gwenn A.Nusbaum, Gwenn
Nussbaum, Martha C.Nutkevitch, AviNuttall, JohnNutting, Peter
Nuttman-Shwartz, OritNuzzaci, ValentinaNwigwe, MaxineNyberg, Viveka
Nydes, JuleNye, Catherine H.Nye, Robert A.Nyeborg, Otto
Nygård, MetteNygren, RebeccaNyhamar, Turid
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