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.

Calvocoressi, F. (2014). Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed, Vol. I; Psychoanalytic Writings, Vol. II, edited by Philip Larratt-Smith, Violette Editions, 2012. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 4(2):204-207.

(2014). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 4(2):204-207

Book Reviews

Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed, Vol. I; Psychoanalytic Writings, Vol. II, edited by Philip Larratt-Smith, Violette Editions, 2012

Review by:
Francesca Calvocoressi

Psychoanalysis and artists have been uneasy companions in the twentieth century. Henry Moore, for example, explained to Huw Weldon in a BBC “Monitor” TV documentary in 1960:

Perhaps if I was psychoanalysed I might stop being a sculptor, I don't know, but anyhow I don't want to stop being a sculptor.

The Surrealists, on the other hand, had found liberation in their subject matter, via psychoanalytic theories, in delving into the unconscious, the world of dreams, taboos, and sexuality. André Bréton, who wrote the first Surrealist Manifesto in 1924, felt that:

Under the pretence of civilization and progress, we have managed to banish from the mind everything that may rightly or wrongly be termed superstition, or fancy; forbidden is any kind of search for truth, which is not in conformance with accepted practices. It was, apparently, by pure chance that a part of our mental world, which we pretended not to be concerned with any longer—and, in my opinion by far the most important part—has been brought back to light. For this we must give thanks to the discoveries of Sigmund Freud. (Bréton, 1924)

Automatism, the rejection of logic, and of the control of reason would become the central precept of the movement. If the Surrealists threw open the doors of perception and embraced psychoanalysis, the terrible losses and dislocations of two world wars resulted in trauma and severe emotional disturbance for many artists. The post-war movement of Abstract Expressionism in the US continued to adhere to some of the tenets of the European Surrealist movement, such as automatism, but to reinterpret them, in large-scale all-embracing paintings of dynamic movement and strong colour. They were familiar with Freud and Jung, and spoke of art in relation to the unconscious. Of the leading Abstract Expressionists, however, Mark Rothko committed suicide by cutting his wrists aged sixty-six, Ashile Gorky hanged himself, aged forty-four, while Jackson Pollock died of an alcohol-related car crash, aged forty-four. Although Willem de Kooning lived to be over ninety, he was in and out of rehab for much of his life.

[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 © 2019, 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.