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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.

Jacoby, M. (1976). HILLMAN, James Re-visioning psychology. New York, Evanston, San Francisco, London, Harper and Row. 1975. Pp. 266. $12.50.. J. Anal. Psychol., 21(2):227-229.

(1976). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 21(2):227-229

HILLMAN, James Re-visioning psychology. New York, Evanston, San Francisco, London, Harper and Row. 1975. Pp. 266. $12.50.

Review by:
Marianne Jacoby

The first draft of this book was delivered at the 1972 Dwight Harrington Terry Lectures at Yale University. The lectures’ aims call for a pioneering spirit, and are ‘not the promotion of scientific investigation and discovery, but rather the assimilation and interpretation of that which has been or shall be hereafter discovered ….’

These aims pervade the whole book. It is not written for analysts alone, but for the analyzed or any reader who cares for his psyche and imagination. The last nouns should be transposed into ‘psychologizing’ and ‘imagining’, so as to match the four chapters whose titles read, abbreviated: ‘Personifying’, ‘Pathologizing’, ‘Psychologizing’, and ‘Dehumanizing or soul-making’. With the emphasis on psychological activity the gerunds seem inescapable, if unfamiliar, in the author's search for a language that is not soulkilling. Rhetoric is essential to the structure of Hillman's archetypal psychology and becomes more his own with each new publication.

In this context, Jung's work appears to become more a point of departure than to remain a temenos. Hillman points beyond Jung, as well as Freud. Yet, both old masters seem to meander through the book from beginning to end. But Hillman searches for earlier, cultural ancestors and meets them in our own Western history which, he thinks, we tend to neglect in favour of looking East.

I am starting here with the end of the book and feel quite happy to do so, because in the author's own view the flow of his ideas is ‘episodic and circular’. On one of the last pages the message of this book is cast into a symbolic image. The author envisages—in his imaginal geography—a vertical axis, leading from North to South, of which, he reminds us, we are not sufficiently aware. The longitudinal shaft is intersected by the Alpine, horizontal axis, which connects Occident with Orient, of which, he warns us, we make too much.

Starting again at the top, where, symbolically, our consciousness resides, Hillman points out that our consciousness should not be regarded as Western but as Northern.

[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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