Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
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.

Polzer, A. (1991). Georg Groddeck's Racism—A Dismal Discovery. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39:575-577.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39:575-577

Georg Groddeck's Racism—A Dismal Discovery

Anne Polzer

October 5, 1989

In the course of research about the pioneers of psychoanalysis in general and Georg Groddeck (1886–1934) in particular who, of course, is considered the father of psychosomatic medicine, I came upon two disgraceful statements of unadulterated racism in one of his early works: Nasamecu (Natura sanat, medicus curat [1913]) reprinted (Groddeck, 1984, Die Natur heilt). Groddeck has experienced a remarkable revival in Germany and Austria. His numerous books have been reissued, and a Groddeck Society has been established in Frankfurt.

Of his many books only two have been published in the United States: The Book of the It(1977), which propounds the thesis that "we do not live but we are being lived" by a force which, for want of a better term, he calls "the It" (das Es), and The Meaning of Illness(1976), which contains several of his papers and his correspondence with Freud. The latter, as we know, gladly accepted the practicing physician as a "disciple." Neither volume shows any trace of racism. Although much has been written about Groddeck, relatively little else by Groddeck has been translated.

In my recent researches I have uncovered a deplorable portion of Groddeck's texts which contradicts everything he held and taught. In Die Natur heilt(1984) he makes the perfectly reasonable statement that a healthy offspring presupposes healthy parents, and that no government can prevent people from marrying and begetting children. He then goes on to say (my translation) that insofar as habitual drunkards and criminals are concerned,

… the authorities know them. Castrate them and leave it at that.

[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.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.