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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 4 (2006, 2007)

Issue 1
Roundtable Discussion
From Illusion to Synergy?: Psychoanalysis, Spirituality, and Religion in Dialogue: A Roundtable Discussion with  1
Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard, Ph.D., Marie Hoffman, Ph.D., Therese Ragen, Ph.D., Jeremy D. Safran, Ph.D., Rabbi DennisG. Shulman, Ph.D., Moderated by: Amanda Hirsch Geffner, M.A., LCSW and Irwin Kula
Soul Searching: Bearing Witness, Psychotherapeutically, to One God  49
Amber Haque, Ph.D.
On Knowing What We do not Know  59
Elliot L. Jurist, Ph.D., Ph.D.
Who are We, Really?  65
Henry Grayson, Ph.D.
“Other”-Less, “Other”-More, “Other”-Like: A Response to Discussions  83
Marie Hoffman, Ph.D.
Sometimes Less is More: A Response to Discussions  87
Tsvi Blanchard, Ph.D.
Further Thoughts from a Freelance Monotheist  89
Therese Ragen, Ph.D.
What Hillel and Freud Both See When Gazing Into Moses' Face: A Response to Discussions  91
Rabbi Dennis G. Shulman, Ph.D.
The Faith to Be Open  97
Jeremy D. Safran, Ph.D.
Editors' Preface  101
Amanda Hirsch Geffner, M.A., LCSW and Sheldon Itzkowitz, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.
Summary of Kenneth Frank's “Toward Conceptualizing the Personal Relationship in Therapeutic Action: Beyond the ‘Real’ Relationship,” Which Appeared in Psychoanalytic Perspectives Volume 3, Number 1  103
The Real, the Constructed, and the Personal a Discussion of Ken Frank's Paper “Toward Conceptualizing the Personal Relationship in Therapeutic Action: Beyond the ‘Real’ Relationship”  107
David Brand, Ph.D.
Matters of Perspective: Reply to David Brand's “The Real, the Constructed, and the Personal”  125
Kenneth A. Frank, Ph.D.
Editors' Note  145
Amanda Hirsch Geffner, M.A., LCSW and Sheldon Itzkowitz, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.
The Scarred Rapper and the Poems of Always  147
Ionas Sapountzis, Ph.D.
Creative Literary Arts
A Note from the Creative Literary Editor  167
Bonnie Zindel, LCSW
The Closest to Crazy a Sane Person can be  169
Karen Hopenwasser, M.D.
The Lewis Carroll Rag  171
Karen Hopenwasser
Embryonic Vigilante  173
Andrea S. Lanier
Mourner's Litany  175
Amanda Hirsch Geffner, M.A., LCSW
Woman in the Ward  176
Gwenn Nusbaum, LCSW, B.C.D.
Grand Mother  177
Cathy Lobel
Film Review
Los Angeles and the Affect of Racism in Crash  179
Elizabeth Reich
Book Review
What Really Goes on in Treatment: A Book Review of Notes From the Margins: The Gay Analyst's Subjectivity in the Treatment Setting by Eric Sherman  187
Judith Kaufman, LCSW
Editorial Consultants  193
Issue 2
Last Witnesses: Child Survivors of the Holocaust; Part I: A Roundtable Discussion  1
Eva Metzger Brown, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., Dori Laub, M.D., Clemens Loew, Ph.D., Sophia Richman, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., Sheldon Itzkowitz, Mary V. Sussillo and Anja Behm
A Child Survivor of the Holocaust Comes Out of Hiding: Two Stories of Trauma  51
Eva Metzger Brown, Ph.D., A.B.P.P
Discussion of Ionas Sapountzis's “The Scarred Rapper and the Poems of Always”  76
Neil Altman, Ph.D.
A Rap of One's Own  78
Sarah Hill, LCSW
It's Always Our Own Rap: Reply to Commentaries  83
Ionas Sapountzis, Ph.D.
Creative Literary Arts
A Note from the Creative Literary Editor  92
Bonnie Zindel, LCSW
Absence  93
Judith Lit
In My Rocking Chair  96
Tania Ruzaeff
Jail Dance  97
Darcy Dean Minsky, LCSW, M.S.
From the Editors: Introduction to Private Lives  99
The Apron  102
Clemens Loew, Ph.D.
Book Review
On Answering Critiques of Psychoanalysis: Empiricism, Unified Theories, and Clinical Innovation: A Discussion of: Affect Regulation, Mentalization and the Development of the Self by Fonagy, Target, Gergely, and Jurist; Affect Regulation and the Repair of the Self, and Affect Dysregulation and the Disorders of the Self by Alan Schore.  108
Gilbert W. Cole, Ph.D., LCSW
Editorial Consultants  122
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