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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.

 
Search Results
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Results 1 - 14 of 14 for your search on "Gray, Milton":

1. 
Gray, M. (1955). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. I, 1953: The Role of Perception in the Mechanism of Denial. Louis Linn. Pp. 690-705.. Psychoanal Q., 24:611-612. […]
 
2. 
Gray, M. (1953). Part II. in Honor of Melanie Klein: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Aesthetics. Hanna Segal. Pp. 196-207.. Psychoanal Q., 22:604-605. […]
 
3. 
Gray, M. (1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. II, 1954: Mother, God, and Superego. James Clark Moloney. Pp. 120-151.. Psychoanal Q., 25:283-284. […]
 
4. 
Gray, M. (1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. II, 1954: Early Identifications as Archaic Elements in the Superego. Annie Reich. Pp. 218-238.. Psychoanal Q., 25:615-616. […]
 
5. 
Gray, M. (1953). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952. Part I. Problems in Psychoanalytic Research. Sibylle Escalona. Pp. 11-21.. Psychoanal Q., 22:596-597. […]
 
6. 
Gray, M. (1957). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. II, 1954: Regressive Reaction to the Interpretation of a Dream. Lawrence J. Friedman. Pp. 514-518.. Psychoanal Q., 26:137-138. […]
 
7. 
Gray, M. (1955). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. I, 1953: Fetishism. Robert C. Bak. Pp. 285-298.. Psychoanal Q., 24:158-159. […]
 
8. 
Gray, M. (1954). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. I, 1953: Past and Present in the Transference. Mark Kanzer. Pp. 144-154.. Psychoanal Q., 23:295-296. […]
 
9. 
Gray, M. (1954). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952: Some Sidelights on Free Associations. Gregory Zilboorg. Pp. 489-495.. Psychoanal Q., 23:148-149. […]
 
10. 
Gray, M. (1954). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952: Metapsychological Considerations on the Concept of Work. Barbara Lantos. Pp. 439-443.. Psychoanal Q., 23:143-144. […]
 
11. 
Gray, M. (1954). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952: Freud's Conception of Love. Edward Hitschmann. Pp. 421-428.. Psychoanal Q., 23:141. […]
 
12. 
Gray, M. (1954). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952: In Support of Freud's Syndrome of 'Actual' Anxiety Neurosis. Abram Blau. Pp. 363-372.. Psychoanal Q., 23:137-138. […]
 
13. 
Gray, M. (1953). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXII, 1951: Pavor Nocturnus. Max M. Stern. Pp. 302-309.. Psychoanal Q., 22:300. […]
 
14. 
Gray, M. (1953). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXII, 1951: Pathological Generosity. Hilde Lewinsky. Pp. 185-189.. Psychoanal Q., 22:296. […]
 
 
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