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

Module 3—Selecting the Main Concept

page 10 of 20

Use of History Headings

  • The terms: History of Medicine; History of Dentistry; and History of Nursing are only used for very general works on these topics
  • Prefer the use of the subheading history with a specific topic (Cf. Module 4—Use of Topical Subheadings)
  • When relevant, coordinate with the appropriate time period, e.g. History, Ancient or History, 19th Century


  • History terms should only be assigned to works discussing the historical aspects of a subject
  • They are not used for materials on a topic that were written as contemporaneous works or for reprints of these works just because they are old
  • One exception: Specific events in the history tree, such as Gulf War or Bhopal Accidental Release may be used with contemporaneous materials


  • For a work describing the history of treatment of neoplasms in the 19th century, written in 2005, use:
    • 650 12 $a Neoplasms $x therapy
    • 650 12 $a Medical Oncology $x history
    • 650 22 $a History, 19th Century
  • For a 2007 reprint of a 19th century work on treatment of neoplasms, use:
    • 650 12 $a Neoplasms $x therapy

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