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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.

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Results 1 - 19 of 19 for your search on "Stamm, Julian L.":

Stamm, J.L. (1978). The Meaning of Humiliation and its Relationship to Fluctuations in Self-Esteem. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 5:425-432. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1969). Camus' Stranger: His Act of Violence. Am. Imago, 26(3):281-290. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1969). The Enigma of Creativity: Meerloo, Joost A.: Creativity and Eternization, Assen, The Netherlands: 1967, Royal VanGorcum Ltd., 1967, 272 pp.. Am. Imago, 26(1):78-79. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1967). Creativity and Sublimation. Am. Imago, 24(1-2):82-97. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1971). Vincent Van Gogh: Identity Crisis and Creativity. Am. Imago, 28(4):363-372. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1969). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. XIV, 1966: A Reconsideration of Freud's 'A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis' in Relation to Identity Disturbance. Irving B. Harrison. Pp. 518-527.. Psychoanal Q., 38:338. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1966). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. XII, 1964: On the Early History and Development of Psychoanalysis in India. C. V. Ramana. Pp. 110-134.. Psychoanal Q., 35:154. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1962). Altered Ego States Allied to Depersonalization. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 10:762-783. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1969). The Problems of Depersonalization in Freud's “Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis”. Am. Imago, 26(4):364-371. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1975). On Creativity. Am. Imago, 32(4):420-423. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1965). Shaw's Man and Superman: His Struggle for Sublimation. Am. Imago, 22(4):250-254. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1974). A Unique Poetic Sublimation of Conflicts Revived During Termination. Psychoanal Q., 43:427-437. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1974). Lsd: Personality and Experience: By Harriet Linton Barr, Ph.D.; Robert J. Langs, M.D.; Robert R. Holt, Ph.D.; Leo Goldberger, Ph.D.; George S. Klein, Ph.D. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 1972. 247 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 43:149-151. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1968). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. XIII, 1965: The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. A Tribute. P. 850.. Psychoanal Q., 37:628. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1967). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. XII, 1964: On Play and the Psychopathology of Golf. Carl Adatto. Pp. 826-841.. Psychoanal Q., 36:470. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1967). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. XII, 1964: Parameters in Child Analysis. Samuel Weiss. Pp. 587-599.. Psychoanal Q., 36:134. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1966). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. XII, 1964: Psychoanalytic Aspects of that Type of Communication Termed 'Small Talk'. Peter A. Martin. Pp. 392-400.. Psychoanal Q., 35:625-625. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1970). Literary Uses of Freud: Morrison, Claudia C.: Freud and the Critic, The Early Use of Depth Psychology in Literary Criticism, Durham, N. C: The University of North Carolina Press, 1968, 248 pp.. Am. Imago, 27(2):191-193. […]
Stamm, J.L. (1966). Waelder on Art: Robert Waelder: Psychoanalytic Avenues to Art. New York: International Universities Press, 1965, 122 pp.. Am. Imago, 23(4):374-377. […]
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