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Entry Terms and Other Cross-References

1. Entry Terms

Entry terms, sometimes called "See cross-references", are synonyms, near-synonyms alternate forms, and other closely related terms in a MeSH record. Entry terms are not always strictly synonymous with the preferred term in the record or with each other. However, Entry terms are generally used interchangeably with the preferred term and are equivalent to the preferred term for purposes of cataloging, indexing and retrieval. For example, the Entry terms for the preferred term Heart Arrest range from Arrest, Heart to a simple inversion or less obvious synonyms such as Heart Arrest and Asystole.

Entry Terms are displayed as the Entry Term in the MeSH Browser. Entry terms exist as the <Term> element in XML MeSH. Note, however, XML MeSH does identify strict synonymy between subsets of terms within a record. See the <Concept> element in XML MeSH and Concept Structure in XML MeSH Data.

2. Other cross-references

Three kinds of informative references suggest other Descriptors in MeSH that relate to the subject and that may be useful in indexing, cataloging, or searching a particular topic.

2.1 See Related

See related references are used for a variety of relationships between Descriptor records where a user of one Descriptor is reminded of another Descriptor which may be of interest. For example, the relationship may be between a disease and its cause:

   Factor XIII Deficiency see related Factor XIIIa

Or between an organ and a physiological process:

   Bone and Bones see related Osteogenesis

Or between an organ and a drug acting on it:

   Bronchi see related Bronchoconstrictor Agents

Or between an organ and a procedure:

   Bile Ducts see related Cholangiography

In the MeSH Browser the See Related reference is displayed as See Also, and is the <SeeRelatedDescriptor> element in XML MeSH.

2.2 Consider Also

Reference to other Descriptors having related linguistic roots, for example:

   Brain consider also terms at CEREBR- and ENCEPHAL-.

Consider Also references are used primarily with anatomical Descriptors to refer to groups of Descriptors beginning with a common stem rather than to a single Descriptor. In the MeSH Browser the reference is displayed as Consider Also, and as the <ConsiderAlso> element in XML MeSH.

2.3 Entry Combination

In some NLM systems using MeSH, certain Descriptor/Qualifier combinations are prohibited by a special MeSH data element called the <EntryCombination> in XML MeSH, and Entry Combination in the MeSH Browser. For example, the Descriptor Accidents cannot be used with the Qualifier prevention & control, but instead of this combination, the Descriptor Accident Prevention should be used.

2.4 MeSH Tree Structures

In some thesauri the function cross references to broader and narrower terms is comparable to the hierarchical relationships in the MeSH Tree Structures, though hierarchies enable multiple levels of specificity, as do the MeSH Trees. These relationships are displayed graphically in the MeSH Browser and the online MeSH Tree Structures. The Trees data are also used by PubMed for the default behavior of inclusive searching. The Trees data in XML MeSH are to be found in the TreeNumber element.

Last Reviewed: September 1, 2022