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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.

Strachey, J. (1953). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume V (1900-1901): The Interpretation of Dreams (Second Part) and On Dreams. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume V (1900-1901): The Interpretation of Dreams (Second Part) and On Dreams, i-iv. The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-analysis, London.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume V (1900-1901): The Interpretation of Dreams (Second Part) and On Dreams

Strachey, J. (1953). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume V (1900-1901): The Interpretation of Dreams (Second Part) and On Dreams, i-iv. The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-analysis, London.

[SEE0a1]The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume V (1900-1901): The Interpretation of Dreams (Second Part) and On Dreams Next

Translated from the German under the General Editorship of James Strachey

In Collaboration with:
Anna Freud

Assisted by:
Alix Strachey and Alan Tyson

[SEE0a2]Contents

VOLUME FIVE
THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS (1900)
Chapter Page
  VI THE DREAM-WORK (continued)
    (D) Considerations of Representability 339
    (E) Representation by Symbols in Dreams—Some Further Typical Dreams 350
    (F) Some Examples—Calculations and Speeches in Dreams 405
    (G) Absurd Dreams—Intellectual Activity in Dreams 426
    (H) Affects in Dreams 460
    (I) Secondary Revision
488
  VII THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE DREAM-PROCESSES 509
    (A) The Forgetting of Dreams 512
    (B) Regression 533
    (C) Wish-Fulfilment 550
    (D) Arousal by Dreams—The Function of Dreams—Anxiety-Dreams 573
    (E) The Primary and Secondary Processes—Repression 588
    (F) The Unconscious and Consciousness—Reality
610
APPENDIX A  A Premonitory Dream Fulfilled 623
APPENDIX B  List of Writings by Freud dealing predominantly or largely with Dreams 626

- v -

  page
ON DREAMS (1901)
629
BIBLIOGRAPHY  
     (A) List of Works Quoted and Author Index 687
     (B) List of Works on Dreams Published before 1900
708
INDEX OF DREAMS  
     (A) Freud's Own Dreams 715
     (B) Other People's Dreams
717
GENERAL INDEX 723*

* [SEE0a3]Not Available in PEP

- vi -

Article Citation [Who Cited This?]

Strachey, J. (1953). [SEE0a1]The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume V (1900-1901): The Interpretation of Dreams (Second Part) and On Dreams. i-iv. The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-analysis, London.

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