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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.

Garma (1948). Marcondes, Durval: Söbre a psicogënese do “mal de engasgo”. (Sobre la psicogénesis del espasmo esofágico.) “Archivos de Neuro-Psiquiatría”, tomo V, págs. 125-134, 1947.. Rev. psicoanál., 5(3):836.

(1948). Revista de Psicoanálisis, 5(3):836

Marcondes, Durval: Söbre a psicogënese do “mal de engasgo”. (Sobre la psicogénesis del espasmo esofágico.) “Archivos de Neuro-Psiquiatría”, tomo V, págs. 125-134, 1947.

Review by:

El cardiospasmo es una afección común en ciertas regiones del Brasil, como São Paulo. Se le ha hecho depender de numerosos factores, entre ellos la insuficiencia vitamínica. D. Marcondes hace su estudio psicosomático, relacionándolo con estudios parecidos sobre la úlcera gastroduodenal.

El cuadro clínico del cardiospasmo sería consecuencia de conflictos entre tendencias pasivorreceptivas y activoexpulsivas, frente a la madre o sustitutos. Cuadros clínicos similares son la anorexia y la bulimia, en sus soluciones extremas y contrapuestas del mismo conflicto.

Una historia clínica de cardiospasmo documenta las conclusiones psicológicas. Es de desear que, en futuras comunicaciones, nueva casuística complete este brillante estudio.

La asociación de cardiospasmo con megacolon puede ser debida a que las tendencias pasivorreceptivas y activoexpulsivas sean satisfechas también por el recto y el erotismo anal.

Marcondes no se ocupa de los trastornos concomitantes en el corazón y otros órganos. En cuanto a las alteraciones histológicas, las considera como fenómenos secundarios.


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