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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.

Reichmayr, J. (2018). Herzog, Dagmar: Cold War Freud. Psychoanalysis in an Age of Catastrophes. Cambridge (Cambridge University Press) 2017. 311 Seiten, ca. $ 35,00.. Psyche – Z Psychoanal., 72(3):235-239.

(2018). Psyche – Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 72(3):235-239

Herzog, Dagmar: Cold War Freud. Psychoanalysis in an Age of Catastrophes. Cambridge (Cambridge University Press) 2017. 311 Seiten, ca. $ 35,00.

Review by:
Johannes Reichmayr

Dagmar Herzog ist Historikerin mit einem Schwerpunkt auf der Geschichte der Sexualität. Sie lehrt an der City University of New York und ist auf beiden Seiten des Atlantiks zu Hause. In ihrem neuen Buch hat sie die Geschichte der Psychoanalyse nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg in drei Teilen verdichtet. Im ersten Teil, »Leaving the World Outside«, beschäftigt sie sich mit der Blütezeit und dem Niedergang der Psychoanalyse in den USA in der Zeit des Kalten Krieges. Danach untersucht sie in »Nazism's Legacies« die Nachwirkungen des Nationalsozialismus und Holocaust diesseits und jenseits des Atlantiks. Im dritten Teil, »Radical Freud«, konzentriert sich Dagmar Herzog auf die Öffnung der Psychoanalyse für Politik und Gesellschaft in Europa in den 1960er und 1970er Jahren.

Im ersten Teil rückt das erste Kapitel, »The Libido Wars«, die bisher wenig beachtete Verbindung von Kirche und Psychoanalyse bei der Entwicklung der Nachkriegspsychoanalyse in den USA in den Fokus. Die Psychoanalyse gerät auf dem Höhepunkt ihrer Popularität in eine Auseinandersetzung mit prominenten Kirchenmännern, in deren Verlauf es zu ihrer »Christianisierung« kommt. Um sich dem Vorwurf des »Pansexualismus« von Seiten der Kirche zu entziehen, legten sich maßgebliche Vertreter des psychoanalytischen Mainstreams auf einen konservativen und konformistischen Wertekanon fest.

[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 here.]

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