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Finding Terms to Describe Subject Content

Note: Searchers should use the MeSH Database to build a search strategy for PubMed or other Entrez Databases using MeSH vocabulary and to discover helpful information about a MeSH term. Use the MeSH Browser for additional information.

NLM's MEDLINE indexers use the MeSH Browser, an online vocabulary look-up aid with virtually complete MeSH records, to find the term that best describes the concept to be indexed. They view the full record: scope note, annotation, See Also terms, etc., for hints on indexing.

Indexers use the most specific term available to describe a concept.

Example:

"The liver disease, chronic hepatitis B" is indexed as:

Hepatitis B, Chronic

rather than Liver Diseases or Hepatitis or Hepatitis B

Indexers use more than one heading if a single heading does not cover the concept (see Coordination).

Example:

"Mucinous adenocarcinoma of the ovary" is indexed as:

Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous
Ovarian Neoplasms

If an exact heading does not exist, indexers use the MeSH Browser and the hierarchy to find the most specific heading available.

Example:

"Cranial radiation therapy" is indexed as

Cranial Irradiation

which is under the Radiotherapy branch of the MeSH tree

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