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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 10 (1996)

Issue 1
Editorial  1
Jane Milton
Meeting the Challenge: Teaching Psychotherapy to Medical Students: Part I: Students and Syllabus  3
Patricia Hughes and Christopher Gibson
Meeting the Challenge: Teaching Psychotherapy to Medical Students: Part II: Style and Delivery  11
Patricia Hughes and Christopher Gibson
A Dysmorphophobic Reaction to Cosmetic Dentistry: Observations and Responses to Psychotherapeutic Intervention  21
Ruth Freeman and Briony Kells
Making Sense: Brain Trauma, Epileptic Seizures and Personal Meaning  33
Simon Cregeen
Primitive Mind of State  45
David Bell
Psychoanalysis and Environmentalism: First Thoughts  59
Joseph Mishan
Book Reviews
The Making of an Analyst: A Memoir. By Michael Fordham Free Association Books pp. 151 £14.95.  71
Nicola Blandford
How to Survive as a Psychotherapist. By Nina Coltart Sheldon Press. Pp.120  73
Robert Tollemache
Unimaginable Storms: A Search for Meaning in Psychosis. By Murray Jackson Paul Williams London:Karnac Books. pp. 232 #16.95.  77
Peter Whewell
Paranoia: New Psychoanalytical Perspectives. Edited by John M Oldham Stanley Bone London:International Universities Press Pp. 174 $27.50.  79
John Lawrence
Special Care Babies and their Developing Relationships. By Anne McFadyen London: Pp. 194. Routledge.  82
Judith Jackson
The Newborn in the Intensive Care Unit. A Neuropsychoanalytic Prevention Model By Romana Negri Karnac Books London: Pp. 260  85
Judith Jackson
Psychic Structure and Psychic Change. Edited by M.J. Horowitz O.F. Kernberg E.M. Weinshel London: International Universities Press. Pp. 373 $40.00.  88
Susan Phillips
Mental Space. By Robert M Young Process Press. (26 Freegrove Road, N7 9RQ) Pp. 200 #15.95 + #1.50 postage  89
David Morgan
Letter to the Editor  93
Bob Hinshelwood and Sue Robinson
Issue 2
Editorial  99
Jane Milton
Enid Balint's Contribution to General Practice  101
Andrew Elder
The Interaction of the Schizophrenic and the Milieu in the Acute Psychiatric Ward  109
Martin Lotz
The Clinician-Manager Model in the National Health Service: Conflicting Social Defence Systems?  125
Anne Goodwin
Conformism as a Symptom of Adolescent Breakdown: A Clinical Case  135
Anthony Bateman
Bearing the Unbearable - Working with the Abused Mind  143
Roger Kennedy
The Tavistock and Group-Analytic Approaches to Group Psychotherapy: A Trainee's Perspective  155
Arturo Ezquerro
Book Reviews
Unconcious Logic. An introduction to Matte Blanco's Bi-Logic and its Uses. By Eric Rayner Routledge. Pp. 180 £40.00 hb; £14.99 pb.  171
Margaret Arden
The Motherhood Constellation. By Daniel Stern New York: Basic Books. pp. 229 £19.95 (hardback).  175
Paul Barrows
A Doctor's Dilemma: Stress and the Role of the Carer. By John W. Holland. Free Associations pp. 182 £15.95;  178
Nicola Blandford
The Supervisory Encounter. By D. Jacobs P. David D.J. Mayer. Holland New Haven & London: Yale University Press. Pp.182Doing Supervision and Being Supervised. By R. Langs. London: Karnac. pp. 269  180
Victor Sedlak
Issue 3
Editorial  187
Jane Milton
Training Analysis in the Dutch Society for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: A Survey of Attitudes and Feasibility  189
Rutger W. Trijsburg
Paranoia or Adaptation? The Implications of a Kings Fund Review on a Psychotherapy Department  207
Antony Garelick and Jan Wiener
Paranoid Transference as Resistance to Progress  221
Marco Chiesa
Hostage of the Fee: Meanings of Money, Countertransference, and the Beginning Therapist  233
John D. Shields, Ph.D.
Group Psychotherapy with Psychosomatic and Somatising Patients in a General Hospital  251
Nicholas Temple, Jill Walker and Marcus Evans
Book Reviews
Understanding Mental Objects. By Meir Perlow. Foreword by Joseph Sandler New Library of Psychoanalysis, No. 22. London: Routledge. pp. 180 £40.00 hb; £14.99 pb.  269
Susan Budd
Psychotic Metaphysics. By Eric Rhode London: Clunie, Karnac. pp.325 £14.95.  271
Jessica Sacret
Michael Fordham: Innovations in Analytical Psychology. By James Astor London: Routledge. pp.2.63 £13-99.  275
Roger Hobdell
Imagining Characters: Six Conversations about Women Writers. By A.S. Byatt Ignê Sodré London: Chatto & Windus pp.268 £16.99  276
Margaret Rustin
Letter to the Editor  279
Philip Hewitt
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