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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.

Weissman, P. (1964). Early Development and Endowment of the Artistic Director. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 12:59-79.

(1964). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 12:59-79

Early Development and Endowment of the Artistic Director

Philip Weissman, M.D.


Specific aspects of the artistic director's early development during and after the oedipal period exert dynamic effects upon the shaping and the functioning of his career. The unconscious oedipal

wish to rear the parents' children finds expression and gratification in his directorial activities. The wish to rear the parents' children may come from either a positive or negative oedipal configuration from which then ensues an identification with the parent of the same or opposite sex respectively. Regardless of its negative or positive oedipal origin, the identification is utilized via a sublimated wish to direct the performers as children. A common parental combination for the artistic director is one in which the mother has strong aesthetic interests, usually in the performing area, and the father is involved in executive, managerial, or directorial activities. One artistic director and two nonartistic directors had mothers who had no aesthetic interests; however, all three fathers fulfilled the requirements of managerial or executive positions. The artistic director often identifies with the ego ideals of both parents which may encompass the father's love and support for the mother's aesthetic interests.

The artistic director's unconscious oedipal wish to rear his parents' children facilitates his identification with the creator whose work he treats and presents as if it were his own child. The dynamics of the psychological interplay among the creator, director, and performer have been noted. Summed up, the performer is the child in whom the parentally identified director has instilled the re-created essence of the work of the composer or the dramatist—the true parent.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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