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.

(1994). Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. Psychoanal Q., 63:181-183.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:181-183

Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York

January 25, 1993. ANALYSIS, RE-ANALYSIS, AND SELF-ANALYSIS. Austin Silber, M.D.

Dr. Silber presented a deeply personal account of his analytic investigations stretching back to the start of his training analysis almost forty years ago. He emphasized the individual context of his experiences, acknowledged that there are many different pathways to psychological growth, and raised questions of general applicability.

Upon termination, his seven-year training analysis was viewed as successful by both him and his analyst. Dr. Silber felt he had gained access to previously hidden unconscious processes, learned how to free associate and to work with dreams, and how to apply these exhilarating new insights to his work with control patients. Several years later, however, he had cause to begin to doubt the thoroughness of his training analysis. His former training analyst referred a patient to him, someone whom the training analyst had previously treated and known personally. Dr. Silber was therefore in a position to learn how his analyst had interacted in inappropriate and unanalytic ways with this patient; hence Dr. Silber's continuing, unanalyzed, idealized transference was suddenly shattered. For the first time he recognized obvious characterological limitations in his analyst. Dr. Silber speculated that such an unresolved idealization (and the repressed aggression that goes along with it) often persists indefinitely in the form of a "transference cure" and may be displaced onto other ideals, such as psychoanalysis itself as a treatment or theory.

[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 © 2020, 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.