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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 1 (1985)

Issue 1
Editorial  1
On the Contribution of Psychoanalysis to the Management of Psychotic Patients in the N.H.S.  3
Richard Lucas
Psychotherapy and General Psychiatry — Integral or Separable?  19
Thomas Freeman
The Patient in Hospital  31
Michael B. Conran
Some Uses of the Psychoanalyst in the NHS  45
Jon Sklar
The Training of Psychotherapists  55
John Steiner
The Treatment of a Transvestite  65
Nina E. C. Coltart
Acting out and Separation Anxiety  81
Alan Harrow
The use of Transference and Counter-Transference in Assessing Emotional Disturbance in Children  95
Iain Dresser
Book Reviews
‘Freud: The Assault on Truth’ by J. M. Masson; Faber & Faber, 1984. 308 pp. £9.95  107
William Gillespie
‘Stuttering — A Psychoanalytic Understanding’ by Peter Glauber M.D. Human Sciences Press Inc., 1984. pp. 188. £31.45  109
‘International Journal of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy Volume 10’. Edited by Robert Langs New York: Jason Aronson. 1984. pp. 639 £44.50  111
Colin James
Issue 2
The History of Training and Research in Balint Groups  1
Enid Balint
A Psycho-Analytical Approach to the Assessment of a Psychotic Patient  11
Murray Jackson
Psycho-Analysis in the National Health Service General Hospital  23
Lawrence Goldie
The Non-Mirroring Mother and the Missing Paternal Dimension in a Case of Narcissistic Disturbance  35
Phil Mollon
Anorexic and Bulimic States of Mind in the Psycho-Analytic Treatment of Anorexic/Bulimic Patients and Psychotic Patients  49
Leslie Sohn
Breakdown in Communication: On Finding the Child in the Analysis of an Adult  57
Irma Brenman Pick
The Function of the New Member in an Adolescent Group  63
Valerie Sinason and Gabriel Kirtchuk
Book Reviews
The Family and the School: A Joint Systems Approach to Problems with Children Edited by E. Dowling & E. Osborne London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985, pp 203, £7.95.  79
Peter Reder
Creativity and Perversion by Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel London: Free Association Books 1984 pp 172 Hardback £11.95, Paperback £5.95  79
John Steiner
‘Jung and the Post Jungians’ by Andrew Samuels London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985. pp. 293 £14.95p.  84
Alan Edwards
Adolescence and Developmental Breakdown — A Psychoanalytic View by Moses Laufer and M. Egle Laufer Published by Yale University Press 1984 240 pp. £18.00  87
Leslie Sohn
Time and Timelessness: The Varieties of Temporal Experience — A Psychoanalytic Enquiry. Peter Hartocollis. International Universities Press. 261 pages. Price: $25.  91
Jon Sklar
Issue 3
The Relevance of Current Clinical Practice in Child Psychotherapy to Child Psychiatry  1
Judith Trowell
Development of the Concepts of Transference and Countertransference  13
Iain Dresser
Was Shakespeare Happy with his Patron? One Psychoanalytic View of the Relationship  25
John Padel
Self-Representing Dreams  43
R. Peter Hobson
Mentally Ill or Mentally Handicapped? A Longitudinal Study of Severe Learning Disorder  55
Sheila Spensley
A New Look at the Vulnerability of Puerperal Mothers — A Clinical Study of Two Inpatient Families at the Cassel Hospital  71
Anne Zachary
Sydney Thomas Hayward: MB., BS., FRCPsych.  90
Book Review
Marital Therapy by C. Clulow, Aberdeen University Press, pp. 108, £9.50 hardback & £5.50 paperback. Marital Violence by Norman Johnson, Sociological Review, Monograph 31, Routledge & Kegan Paul, £8.95 pp. 195.  93
Jane Temperley
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