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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.

Rosen, V.H. (1970). Introducción a la mesa redonda sobre lenguaje y psicoanálisis. Rev. psicoanál., 27(1):27-34.

(1970). Revista de Psicoanálisis, 27(1):27-34

Introducción a la mesa redonda sobre lenguaje y psicoanálisis Related Papers

Victor H. Rosen

Ferdinand de Saussure (1916), llamado el padre de la lingüística moderna, lo es también de un distinguido psicoanalista, el doctor Raymond de Saussure, pero existen otros importantes puntos de unión entre ambas disciplinas. El psicoanálisis no puede prescindir del lenguaje, y el estudio del lenguaje no puede prescindir de la psicología. El psicoanálisis ha hecho una importante contribución a la comprensión de la psicopatología del lenguaje (para una excelente descripción de este aporte y una buena bibliografía sobre el tema, véase Laffal, 1965). Por otro lado, el estudio de la estructura del lenguaje promete ayudarnos a comprender los patrones básicos de la organización yoica (Chomsky, 1957; Edelheit, 1968; Freud, 1888, 1895; Luria, 1961; Miller e Isard, 1963; Vernon, 1967; Vygotsky, 1962; Werner y Kaplan, 1963; Whorf, 1962).

La lingüística y el psicoanálisis comparten también características metodológicas. Ambos están basados en supuestos deterministas. Atribuyen importancia similar al desarrollo histórico y ambos dependen en gran medida de la reconstrucción del pasado como una herramienta básica. Ambos campos utilizan un enfoque analítico. La teoría clínica y el estudio de la estructura de idiomas específicos exhiben similitudes interesantes, y aún más notable resulta la analogía en lo que se refiere a la metapsicología del psicoanálisis y los sistemas “metalingüísticos” para el estudio del lenguaje (por ejemplo, la gramática transformacional de Chomsky [1957]).

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