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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 100 (2019)

Issue 1
100 years of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis  1
Dana Birksted-Breen
Psychoanalytic Theory and Technique
Oedipality and oedipal complexes reconsidered: On the incest taboo as key to the universality of the human condition  7
Barnaby B. Barratt
The case for the Freud–Breuer theory of hysteria: A response to Grünbaum’s foundational objection to psychoanalysis  32
Michael T. Michael
The importance of not being Ernest: An archaeology of child’s play in Freud’s writings (and some implications for psychoanalytic theory and practice)  52
Marie Lenormand
History of Psychoanalysis
In conversation: Freud, Abraham and Ferenczi on “Mourning and Melancholia” (1915–1918)  77
Ulrike May
How to measure sustained psychic transformations in long-term treatments of chronically depressed patients: Symptomatic and structural changes in the LAC Depression Study of the outcome of cognitive-behavioural and psychoanalytic long-term treatments  99
Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber, Johannes Kaufhold, Lisa Kallenbach, Alexa Negele, Mareike Ernst, Wolfram Keller, Georg Fiedler, Martin Hautzinger, Ulrich Bahrke and Manfred Beutel
Interdisciplinary Studies
Revisiting Marion Milner’s work on creativity and art  128
Alberto Stefana
Letters to the Editor
Response to Rachel Blass  148
Jay Greenberg
Response to Jay Greenberg's letter  150
Rachel Blass
Book Reviews
Sigmund Freud Anna Freud Correspondence 1904–1938, edited by Ingeborg Meyer-Palmedo  152
Inge-Martine Pretorius
Everyday evils: a psychoanalytic view of evil and morality by C. Covington  155
Danae Karydaki
Desire that enjoys mourning [Il desiderio che ama il lutto] by Sarantis Thanopulos  157
Patrizia Cupelloni
The place of the visual in psychoanalytic practice by Faye Carey  160
Eve Meltzer
Paola Marion – Il disagio del desiderio by Paola Marion  163
Benedetta Guerrini Degl’Innocenti
Relational conundrums: A critique of Contemporary Psychoanalysis by Jon Mills  166
Eyal Rozmarin
At war with the obvious: disruptive thinking in psychoanalysis by Donald Moss  170
Hillery Bosworth
“La psychosomatique” [Psychosomatics], Débats en psychanalyse edited by Félicie Nayrou and Gérard Szwec  173
Kalyane Fejtö
Issue 2
Letter From
Letter from Madrid: The beginning of psychoanalysis in Spain  179
María Luisa Muñoz de la Cruz and Teresa Olmos de Paz
Psychoanalytic Theory and Technique
The concept of time in Bion's “A Theory of Thinking”  182
Giuseppe Civitarese
Transsexualism and transgenderism: Unravelling sex and gender, and abstractions of the sexed body  206
Jean-Baptiste Marchand, Elise Pelladeau and Franois Pommier
Challenging Oedipus in changing families: Gender identifications and access to origins in same-sex parent families created through third-party reproduction  229
Vittorio Lingiardi and Nicola Carone
Educational and Professional Issues
From the talking cure to a disease of silence: Effects of ethical violations in a psychoanalytic institute  247
Jane Burka, Angela Sowa, Barbara A. Baer, Charles E. Brandes, Josie Gallup, Sharon Karp-Lewis, Julie Leavitt and Patricia Rosbrow
Interdisciplinary Studies
Respect for the environment: Psychoanalytic reflections on the ecological crisis  272
Cosimo Schinaia
History of Psychoanalysis
Mind as text: Freuds typographical model of the mind  287
Adele Tutter
Psychoanalytic Controversies
Introduction to “On the value of the Lacanian approach to analytic practice”  311
Rachel B. Blass
On the value of the Lacanian approach to analytic practice  315
Bruce Fink
Commentary on Bruce Fink’s “On the value of the Lacanian approach to analytic practice”  333
Ricardo Bernardi and Beatriz de León de Bernardi
After-words, a discussion of Bruce Fink’s “On the value of the Lacanian approach to analytic practice”  341
Alfred Margulies
Response to Bruce Fink  352
Sara Flanders
On Bruce Fink’s “The value of the Lacanian approach to analytic practice”  362
Lionel Bailly
Responses to commentators  368
Bruce Fink
Anne-Marie Sandler (19252018)  377
Haydee Faimberg and Donald Campbell
Paul H. Ornstein, MD (19242017)  384
Jeffrey K. Halpern
Film Essay
The Id follows: It Follows (2014) and the existential crisis of adolescent sexuality  393
Joseph Barbera
Book Reviews
Medea: Myth and unconscious fantasy, revised edition, edited by Esa Roos  405
Charlotta Björklind
Chaos and control: a psychoanalytic perspective on unfolding creative minds, by Desy Safán-Gerard  408
Mark Mellinger
Silent virtues: patience, curiosity, privacy, intimacy, humility, and dignity, by Salman Akhtar  411
Richard Tuch
Field theory in child and adolescent psychoanalysis: understanding and reacting to unexpected developments, by Elena Molinari  415
Mary Brady
Repetition, the compulsion to repeat, and the death drive: an examination of Freud’s doctrines  418
Alfred Margulies
Learning along the way: Further reflections on psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, by Patrick Casement  422
Renée Danziger
An analytic journey, by Marilia Aisenstein  424
Howard B. Levine
Psicoanalisi delle psicosi [Psychoanalysis of the psychoses: Current developments in theory and practice], edited by Riccardo Lombardi, Luigi Rinaldi, and Sarantis Thanopulos  428
Giorgio Campoli
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