Reviews of the PEP Archive
A Review of the PEP CD-ROM Archive 1, Version 3, 1920-1998
Sydney E. Pulver
Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 50, 1091-1095
For anyone with a serious interest in psychoanalysis, this CD-ROM is indispensable. The PEP (Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing) Archive, version 3, contains all of the articles published between 1920 and 1998 in the following journals: Contemp. Psychoanal. (vols. 1-34: 1964-1998); Int. R. Psycho-Anal. (vols. 1-19: 1974-1992); Int. J. Psycho-Anal. (vols. 1-79: 1920-1998); J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn. (vols. 1-46: 1953-1998); Psychoanal. Dial. (vols. 1-8: 1991-1998); Psychoanal. Inq. (vols. 1-18: 1981-1998); Psychoanal Q. (vols. 1-67: 1932-1998); and Psychoanal. St. Child (vols. 1-53: 1945-1998).
The disc makes available nearly the entirety of the psychoanalytic periodical literature; even books are accessible indirectly through the book reviews contained on the PEP CD. The Standard Edition is not yet included, but Freud's work after 1920 appears in English as it was originally published in the International Journal and the Quarterly. All of this rich content can be accessed through a sophisticated search engine, which enables one to search everything on the CD-ROM in a variety of ways. The state-of-the-art disc truly revolutionizes the approach to the psychoanalytic literature. Gone are the hours of library searches, photocopying, and attempting to obtain articles that no one seems to have. Gone is the frustration of finding out after all this work that someone else has already written on your topic, only better. (Of course, we may still find that out-or that something has not been written about enough-but with less waste of time.)
As well as for facilitating research, the disc is invaluable for supervision. Printing out a paper for a supervisee makes it a great deal more likely that he or she will read it than simply recommending it. I can now actually find easily a paper whose citation I only vaguely remember. Just this morning a supervisee described a patient in whom the transference-countertransference constellation reminded me very much of the description in Brian Bird's classic paper on transference. But where exactly was that paper? I turned to my computer, loaded up the PEP CD, selected Search by Context from the Search drop-down menu, typed Bird in the Author Name window and transference in the dialog box, and there it was. The whole operation, including the printing, took about two minutes.
On a more personal level, the PEP disc gratifies curiosity, stimulates creativity, and expands knowledge. Almost daily, questions arise or odd trains of thoughts intrude that for the lack of time to pursue them would once have been suppressed; with this disc, they are now easily followed up. In the course of reading an article on intersubjectivity, it struck me that the phrase here and now must have entered the literature at some point, but when? In five minutes I learned that Susan Isaacs introduced the phrase in 1939, but that it did not gain wide usage until the 1950s. Some care is necessary as such explorations can be addictive! This is a procrastinator's delight. For example, I couldn't resist checking on Gray's implication (2000) that Loewenstein introduced the linguistic term speech acts into the psychoanalytic literature. He didn't! It was Sidney Baker, five years earlier.
The program has a number of other potentially useful features. The first, which I found quite helpful, is the tagged paragraph. One can do a search, look quickly at each hit, and, if it seems useful, tag the paragraph that contains it. These tagged paragraphs can then be printed out in one operation, and the printed material looked over at leisure. Any or all of these paragraphs or bibliography lists can be copied to a word processor program and used later. One can reversibly and with ease highlight any of the text, append notes to individual paragraphs, and bookmark any paragraph for quick return. Readers who were brought up on computers instead of paper and pencil may take to these. I prefer to print things out and manipulate them whenever and wherever I wish.
In the new version 3, the entire PEP infobase can be installed and run from your hard drive, making all searches significantly speedier than those of the earlier install that had to be run off the CD itself. The search engine is a generic one that comes with Folio Views, a basic database organizer. The PEP team has successfully attempted to adapt the shelf Folio Views version to meet the psychoanalyst's needs. With each new version, the searches and bugs seem to get better worked out. The new PEP tutorial written for version 3 has really improved. Analysts with a little computer experience will be tempted to plunge right in and begin searching without reading the PEP Help manual or using the specially written PEP tutorial. This would be a huge mistake, as the PEP Help is a forty-five-minute specially prepared tutorial that takes you through the nuts and bolts of the PEP Archive and all of its incredible search and housekeeping tools. To begin with, in the PEP Help, you will be told not to use the more generic Folio Views Help located on the tool bar, which only is for very advanced and expert computer buffs. By instead using the specially designed PEP Help, which is now cleverly installed automatically on your desk-top, you will be taken through everything you need to know about the PEP CD. Besides the tutorial, there is also an index, which lists the various functions you might need to access.
Those of you who do impetuously plunge right into trying to use the PEP CD without reading the tutorial will understandably make the assumption that if you have questions you can click on the Help menu on the top of the screen. If you do this, however, you will access the generic Folio Views Help. This may help with some problems, but as a whole it is both complex and inapplicable to the newly designed and simplified PEP searches. For example, Folio Views Help states that to perform a simple query you must choose Query from the menu. However, there is no longer a Query on the PEP CD version 3 Search menu. Instead, Search by Context or Advanced Search will now be found in the Search drop down menu. I must say that when I was having difficulties with the earlier published PEP Archive version 2, where the searches were not so clearly designated, I sent a desperate e-mail to PEP support, which was excellent, and I received prompt and clear responses to all of my inquiries. Still, all users should begin by printing out, reading, and using the Quick Introductory Tutorial. The tutorial, which is part of the PEP Help, cannot be reached from the program itself, but must be accessed through the Start menu or from its place on the desktop. Readers will need an hour or two to learn the tutorial, but those hours are well spent.
Analysts writing scientific papers and doing other research may wish to do more thorough searches. For them, the search engine, while versatile, will in the beginning present a number of hurdles. In addition to the Query Tool on the toolbar, which does a ranked search defaulted to fifty articles, there are three other search queries, each of which offers various options. The user-friendliest method of searching all the articles in the PEP CD-ROM Archive is to use the Search by Context dialog. The Advanced Search query dialog is more complex and requires knowledge of Folio Views Help to understand Boolean operators, wild cards, and other advanced search syntax. Go to Specific Volume or Page lets you put in the specific information you might know, say, if you had a journal in front of you.
Best of all, you can now list the bibliography from either Advanced Search or from Search by Context. This list can then be exported to a word-processing program and used to print a custom bibliography.
It is important to note that the various searches use different search logic, and so the quantitative results may vary between the two modes of searching. The advanced searcher will have to try out a variety of approaches to develop one suitable to the project at hand.
Most of the other problems I found are less important, but I will list them in the hope that this program can be made absolutely perfect. First, the licensing procedure is cumbersome and unnecessary. I recognize the investment that is being protected, but other easier ways of protecting against unlicensed use should be available. Second, the copyright warning against duplication printed on the bottom of every printed page seems excessive and distracting. Perhaps once at the beginning of each article would suffice. Third, papers will not print unless the desired article is checked in the Bibliography, and once checked, the article remains checked unless the check mark is specifically removed. This is an acknowledged bug in the system, and a few exposures to the experience of printing two articles when only one was wanted are enough to teach the user. Still, at the very least, we should be specifically warned, perhaps in the Print dialogue box. Fourth is an important caution: If you do not have enough RAM, be sure to close all other programs. Windows is quirky, and the PEP disc seems to be particularly likely to perform illegal functions and crash Windows when other programs are running. Finally, I would make a request to the PEP team for two additional discs in the future: The first could include Freud's works in the original German and in the English of the Standard Edition. It might also contain all of the critiques, pro and con, of Freud's literary style and of the translations. The other disc would contain all of the major psychoanalytic books. I know this is a massive job, but wouldn't it be nice?
In brief: the PEP disc is a wonderful contribution to the study of psychoanalysis. It is expensive, but it lets the user do things that are unimaginable without it and will pay for itself many times over in time saved. For anyone who reads the psychoanalytic literature at all, it is indispensable.
Isaacs, S. (1939). Criteria for interpretation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal. 20:148-160.
Gray, P. (2002). On the receiving end: Facilitating the analysis of conflicted drive derivatives of aggression. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn. 48:219-236.