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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.

Payne, C.R. (1914). Some Freudian Contributions to the Paranoia Problem. Psychoanal. Rev., 1(4):445-451.
    

(1914). Psychoanalytic Review, 1(4):445-451

Critical Digest

Some Freudian Contributions to the Paranoia Problem

Charles R. Payne, A.B., M.D.

(Continued from page 321)

I have selected from the recent literature two other cases which illustrate and emphasize still further the relationship between homosexuality (or to use Ferenczi's preferable term, “homoeroticism,” since psychic tendencies may never have come to open expression) and paranoia. Coming from physicians of entirely different nationalities than Freud and Ferenczi who first called attention to this relationship, these observations would seem to have especial weight in confirming the latter's conclusions. Dr. Wulff who contributes the first case, practices in Odessa, Russia; Dr. Morichau-Beauchant is Professor of Internal Medicine in the University at Poitiers, France.

Since both cases are reported as briefly as is consistent with making the facts intelligible, I shall not try to condense them further but give them in the author's own words.

I. Falsehoods in psychonanalysis (at the same time, a contribution to the psychology of paranoia), by dr. M. wulff, Odessa, Russia.

May one believe unreservedly every communication, every association of the patient, may not the patient intentionally lead the physician astray, deceiving him with “false associations,” fictitious experiences? Many a patient has probably made the attempt; what he can attain by so doing, the following example may show:

The dream of one of my patients ran as follows: “In my place in the office, two new officials have been engaged and I was told that I was discharged.” The analysis immediately came upon resistance. To the first sentence: “In my place in the office, two new officials have been engaged “no associations would come to the patient.

[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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