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Cataloging: Using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®) in Cataloging

Page 5 of 19

Specialty Headings


  • If the MeSH annotation begins with “SPEC:”, this indicates that the term is a specialty heading and refers to the field or profession. Many specialty headings have organ, disease, procedure, or phenomena counterparts
  • Use specialty headings when your work is discussing the field or profession, covering topics such as trends, history, education, and economics
  • Use the appropriate disease term when that is the primary topic, even if the author is using the specialty term
    • For example, a work titled "The Status of Diagnosis in Endocrinology" should be assigned the heading
      • 650 12 $a Endocrine System Diseases $x diagnosis
             NOT Endocrinology
  • MeSH will generally refer you from the specialty to the related disease term in an annotation, scope note or see also reference
  • Examine your work carefully to determine if the specialty term is actually appropriate. More commonly a disease or procedure term will be the correct heading

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