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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.


"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).


"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.


"Cranial radiation therapy" is indexed as

Cranial Irradiation

which is under the Radiotherapy branch of the MeSH tree

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