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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.

List of Articles

Volume 3 (1998)

Issue 1
From the Editor  3
James W. Barron
The Erotic Spell: Women Analysts Working with Male Patients  5
Michelle Flax, Ph.D. and J. Gail White, Ph.D.
Mother as Object, Mother as Subject: Implications for Psychoanalytic Developmental Theory  33
Karen L. Lombardi, Ph.D.
Melancholia as Constitutive of Male Homosexuality: A Kleinian Approach  47
Esther Sánchez-Pardo, Ph.D.
Discussion: Esther Sánchez-Pardo  81
James S. Grotstein, M.D.
Response to James S. Grotstein  95
Esther Sánchez-Pardo, Ph.D.
Discussion of Samuel Gerson's “A Shared Body of Language” (Vol. 1, no. 3): “A Shared Body of Language” to “A Language of the Shared Body”  103
David J. Wayne, Ph.D.
Issue 2
Conjurings: Mourning and Abjection in Story of O and Return to the Château  123
Frances L. Restuccia, Ph.D.
Female Masochism, Female Agency, and the Trauma of Maternal Abondonment: Discussion: Frances L. Restuccia, “Conjurings: Mourning and Abjection in Story of O and Return to the Château”  155
Lynne Layton, Ph.D.
Response to Lynne Layton  171
Frances L. Restuccia, Ph.D.
Transcending Gender Stereotypes: Eluding the Eva Perónista Position  175
Jean B. Sanville, Ph.D.
Discussion: Jean B. Sanville  197
Blanca Montevechio
Response to Blanca Montevechio  205
Jean B. Sanville, Ph.D.
The Movies: The Femme Fatale and the Battle of the Sexes  213
John Munder Ross, Ph.D.
Issue 3
Fathers with Sons: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on “Good Enough” Fathering Throughout the Life Cycle  243
Michael J. Diamond, Ph.D.
Gilda: Fear and Loathing of the Exquisite Object of Relentless Desire  301
William J. Swift, M.D. and Graham Cody, M.D.
Eros in a Gay Dyad: A Case Presentation
Moderator's Introduction  331
Paul E. Lynch, M.D.
Eros in a Gay Dyad: A Case Presentation  335
Cary Friedman, M.D.
Discussion: Eros in a Gay Dyad  347
Rhonda Linde, Ph.D.
Discussion: Eros in a Gay Dyad  355
Andrew P. Morrison, M.D.
Discussion: Eros in a Gay Dyad  361
L. Hartmann, M.D.
Splitting the Difference: Response to David J. Wayne (Vol. 3, no. 1)  371
Samuel Gerson, Ph.D.
Issue 4
Psychoanalysis and “Necessary” Choices: The Shame of Soft Edges  387
Andrew P. Morrison, M.D.
Homosexuality and the Analytic Stance: Implications for Treatment and Supervision  397
Deborah F. Glazer, Ph.D.
Cutting the Umbilical Cord: A Critique of the Self-in-Relation Theory of Female Psychological Development from Psychoanalytic Perspectives  413
Stephanie A. Bot, Psy.D. and Christine M. A. Courbasson, Ph.D.
Alain Berliner's Ma Vie en Rose (1997): Crossing Dress, Crossing Boundaries  435
T. Jefferson Kline, Ph.D.
The Electra Complex: A History of Misrepresentations  451
Daniel Dervin, Ph.D.
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