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MEDLINE Indexing Online Training Course

Category C - Diseases

Indexing Principles

All aspects of the disease described in the article must be indexed. Sometimes the disease can be indexed with a single precise MeSH term. For example, an article about renal tubular acidosis can be indexed with a single exact MeSH term ACIDOSIS, RENAL TUBULAR.

In many cases, however, a disease cannot be indexed with a single MeSH term. For example, an article about cerebellar encephalomalacia is indexed with the precoordinated organ-disease term CEREBELLAR DISEASES (IM) and ENCEPHALOMALACIA (IM). There are many precoordinated organ /disease terms in MeSH such as LIVER DISEASES, LUNG DISEASES, and HEART DISEASES. When indexing a disease in a specific organ, always check the MeSH vocabulary to see if the specific term is there.

Indexing Organ-Disease Concept not in MeSH

To index an organ-disease concept NOT in MeSH, such as temporal lobe disease, the indexer must follow these steps:

  1. Check MeSH for temporal lobe diseases - it is not a MeSH term
  2. Check MeSH for temporal lobe - it is a MeSH term
  4. Locate TEMPORAL LOBE in the Category A (anatomy) MeSH tree (see Tree A08.186.211 below) and note the MeSH term that it is treed under -- CEREBRAL CORTEX
  5. Check MeSH for cerebral cortex diseases -- it is not a MeSH term
  6. Continue up the Category A tree from CEREBRAL CORTEX until you locate the term that has the corresponding disease term in Category C. This is BRAIN DISEASES

The correct indexing for temporal lobe diseases is:

The MeSH tree from Brain to Temporal Lobe

Many MeSH terms are annotated with indexing information for diseases related to this term. It includes coordination instructions, IM/NIM instructions, and other useful indexing hints, such as how to index inflammation (-itis) of an organ.

Here are two examples of annotations.

The annotation for TEMPORAL LOBE says

diseases: coordinate IM with BRAIN DISEASES (IM); neoplasms: coordinate IM with BRAIN NEOPLASMS (IM)

The annotation for PHARYNX says

inflammation = PHARYNGITIS

Some disease terms, such as ACUTE DISEASE and CHRONIC DISEASE are annotated as NIM coordinates with specific diseases IM.

Last Reviewed: January 26, 2017