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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
  3. Index TEMPORAL LOBE
  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
  7. Coordinate TEMPORAL LOBE with BRAIN DISEASES

The correct indexing for temporal lobe diseases is:
BRAIN DISEASES (IM)
TEMPORAL LOBE (IM)

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.

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