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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.

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Vorchheimer, M. (2017). From Ultrasound to Army: The Unconscious Trajectories of Masculinity in Israel, by Hanni Mann-Shalvi, Karnac, 2016. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 7(2):231-233.

(2017). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 7(2):231-233

From Ultrasound to Army: The Unconscious Trajectories of Masculinity in Israel, by Hanni Mann-Shalvi, Karnac, 2016

Review by:
Mónica Vorchheimer

In From Ultrasound to Army, Hanni Mann-Shalvi’s moving book, the psychoanalyst shares theoretical and clinical thoughts arising from her doctoral research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From her personal experience as a psychotherapist living in Israel, she is sensitive to parents’ difficulties in setting boundaries for their children—particularly for their sons; her investigation focuses on whether the processes of parenting sons in the State of Israel are influenced by parents’ knowledge of their sons’ compulsory draft at the age of eighteen. Her book explores whether knowledge of the requirement to enlist and that their lives may be in danger creates an emotional burden that affects and shapes parenting patterns, as well as the unique patterns of masculinity and femininity that characterise Israeli society. Her study delves into psychoanalytic findings that suggest that Israeli history—fraught with existential threats—stamps the psychic fabric of its people, intra-psychically, inter-psychically and transsubjectively.

This book is based on interviews with couples and data from Mann-Shalvi’s clinical practice, and it is beautifully interwoven with biblical sources, mythology, history, literature, journalism, and cultural sources that enrich and widen its scope.

The reality of raising children in the shadow of the fear of death, as happens in Israeli society, has many consequences that the author explores in depth: she considers questions of parenting, couple development, and identity.

[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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