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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®) in MEDLINE®/PubMed®: A Tutorial


Depth of Indexing and the Rule of Three

  • For most research articles, every concept substantively discussed should be covered by at least one MeSH heading
  • Even negative findings are indexed if discussed
  • For articles discussing many subjects, general headings (but as specific as possible) may be used to group related concepts rather than indexing them individually
  • Some items, such as review articles, letters, and editorials, are indexed “non-depth,” meaning:
    • All major topics are indexed
    • All minor concepts required for complete coordination of the major topics are indexed.
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