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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.

Cole, E.M. (1922). A Few 'Don'ts' for Beginners in the Technique of Psycho-Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 3:43-44.

(1922). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 3:43-44

A Few 'Don'ts' for Beginners in the Technique of Psycho-Analysis

Estelle Maude Cole

1. Don't fail to notice the entry of the patient into the consulting room, regarding punctuality, facial expression, tone of voice, manner and general appearance. Extreme neatness or untidiness of the person or self-admiration are points of practical value.

2. Don't allow the patient to sit in an upright chair. Provide a couch to encourage relaxation.

3. Don't sit within the patient's view. The analyst should be obliterated from view both literally and mentally.

4. Don't talk once the patient has taken up the supine position. Keep silent and let the patient break the silence at the beginning of every hour.

5. Don't fail to note the first remark. This will probably be found to have a bearing on the analysis and may act as a key to it.

6. Don't allow the patient to leave the couch or change the supine position so that the analyst is in view. The desire of the patient to view the analyst is to watch the effect of his disclosures on the analyst's face. If the patient insists on turning towards the analyst, this resistance should be analysed at once.

7. Don't give your point of view to the patient. Take the patient's standpoint and work from that.

8. Don't argue with a patient. It takes two to make an argument and the analyst would be infringing the passive role. The patient grows tired of trying to argue if there is no response.

9. Don't forget to note the nature of the transference. A heavy positive transference in the early stages should cause the analyst to be on the alert for just as heavy a negative.

[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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