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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.

Negri, R. Harris, M. (2007). The Story of Infant Development: Observational Work with Martha Harris. Karnac Books Ltd..

Negri, R. and Harris, M. (2007). The Story of Infant Development. , 1-235. Karnac Books Ltd..

The Story of Infant Development: Observational Work with Martha Harris

Romana Negri and Martha Harris

Edited by:
Meg Harris Williams

Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ix
ABOUT THE AUTHORS xi
EDITORIAL NOTE by Meg Harris Williams xiii
PREFACE by Gianna Polacco Williams xv
INTRODUCTION by Romana Negri xvii
CHAPTER ONE: The pattern of normal development: forming a relationship with the breast 1
A stunning experience; a state of normal non-integration and evacuation of sensations; the pull of the nipple; maternal depression and the difficulty of introjecting the object; digesting emotions; problems of identification in the mother; the breast that comes and goes away; the bottle, and a distance from the mother.  
CHAPTER TWO: The pattern of normal development: the end of breastfeeding 35
The end of breastfeeding; feelings of aggression and seduction; representations of the breast; the lost breast and the nipple lifeline; mother returns to work—the new sweetheart; the only baby; the relationship with the father; how the new baby is made; the little chair—the new place in the family.  
CHAPTER THREE: The story of the birth of the next sibling 89
Feminine and masculine qualities; the value of fairy tales; the epistemophilic instinct; one day it will be his turn; a point of “catastrophic change”; birth of the next sibling; the “imbecile” infantile self that damages its objects; the second day at nursery school (with Donald Meltzer); the third birthday.

[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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