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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.

Branley, D. Coleman, L. (2016). The Trial, by Franz Kafka, adapted by Nick Gill, directed by Richard Jones, Young Vic, London, 19 July-22 August, 2015. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 6(1):122-125.

(2016). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 6(1):122-125

The Trial, by Franz Kafka, adapted by Nick Gill, directed by Richard Jones, Young Vic, London, 19 July-22 August, 2015

Review by:
Duncan Branley, M.A., MSc, FHEA

Lin Coleman

“sure no guilt if no one hurt?”

(Kafka, ad. Gill, 2015, p. 61)

“Kafkaesque” is a common expression of baffled exasperation and powerlessness when caught up in incomprehensible bureaucratic systems. Franz Kafka's The Trial, written in 1914, but not published until 1925, has exercised critics from the world of politics, philosophy, literature, and psychoanalysis. It has been seen as a comment on the challenges of living under an all-encompassing, incomprehensible, judicial system. Most of Kafka's work describes a world where something strange and extraordinary suddenly irrupts into ordinary life, and The Trial exemplifies this with horrible power. The protagonist, Josef K, wakes one morning to find himself arrested, though not detained, for an unarticulated crime, and becomes engaged in an increasingly nightmarish struggle to prove himself not guilty. The potential for psychoanalytic examination and interpretation is clear.

But can an intrapsychic nightmare be successfully portrayed in the theatre? Is it possible to show the tortured workings of a young man's inner world effectively on the stage for over an hour and a half? The novel was never finalised by Kafka and was assembled and published posthumously by Kafka's friend, Max Brod. Since there is no “definitive” author-sanctioned version, there is more leeway for creative interpretation and there have been several adaptations for stage and film. Nick Gill's adaptation and Richard Jones' direction for The Young Vic continued this tradition.

We (this review's authors) found ourselves attending the same performance. Discussing it later we wondered whether we were intrigued by the interpersonal, sexual aspects of the play precisely because we are therapists.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the article. PEP-Web provides full-text search of the complete articles for current and archive content, but only the abstracts are displayed for current content, due to contractual obligations with the journal publishers. For details on how to read the full text of 2016 and more current articles see the publishers official website.]

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