MeSH in MARC Format
- Understanding MARC Authority Records: Machine-Readable Cataloging. This information is from the US Library of Congress. It gives a general overview of MARC Authority Records and how they are used.
MeSH/MARC file release dates
- The annual MeSH/MARC files are released in November prior to the calendar year of their intended use. For example, the annual update of 2018 MeSH/MARC will be released in November of 2017.
- If MeSH data changes in the middle of the year, the changes will appear in a monthly full file and the change file. Note that these monthly change files will include only changes made during that month and the changes are not cumulative. When Mid-year change files are available they will appear on the MARC FTP download site (see below).
MeSH/MARC File Types
- MARC Sample file
- This is a smaller file primarly used for testing and evaluation purposes. It contains 41 descriptor records, 82 qualifier records, and 869 descriptor/qualifier combinations, for a total of 993 records.
- MARC sample label file
- This file provides size and other statistics for the matching sample data file.
- Update-only files
- These files contain new and modified terms with descriptor records and descriptor/qualifier combinations. Please remember use all the files since your last update to get all the changes.
- Update Label Files
- Provide size and other statistics for the update files.
- Full Release Files
- Contains all terms with descriptor records, qualifier records, and descriptor/qualifier combination records.
- Full Label Files
- Provides size and other statistics for the full file.
Downloading MeSH/MARC files
All files are directly accessed via our FTP directory. The data are in extended 8-bit US MARC ASCII. The file can only be transferred via FTP into a saved file. A file extension of ".bin" has been used to prompt the local receiving computer to automatically open a file to save the data.
All files are available at: ftp://nlmpubs.nlm.nih.gov/online/mesh/MESH_FILES/meshmarc/ where you will also see additional metata such as file size and upload date.
Note also that starting with 2017 MESH/MARC files are prefixed with the YearMonthDate (i.e. 20160101 = Jan 1, 2016) followed by the filename (see examples below).
MeSH/MARC File Examples (2016 data)
|Date||Time||File Size||File Name|
|09/02/2016||08:04AM||77||20160901_label_marc_change.bin||= MARC Label for Change File from Sept 1, 2016|
|09/02/2016||08:04AM||79||20160901_label_marc_full.bin||= MARC Label for Full File from Sept 1, 2016|
|09/02/2016||08:04AM||15,891,881||20160901_marc_change.bin||= MARC Change File from Sept 1, 2016|
|09/02/2016||08:04AM||165,696,962||20160901_marc_full.bin||= MARC Full File Sept 1, 2016|
|09/29/2016||01:49PM||74||20161001_label_marc_change.bin||= MARC Label for Change File from Oct 1, 2016|
|09/29/2016||01:49PM||79||20161001_label_marc_full.bin||= MARC Label for Full File from Oct 1, 2016|
|09/29/2016||01:48PM||12,938||20161001_marc_change.bin||= MARC Change File from Oct 1, 2016|
|09/29/2016||01:49PM||165,708,170||20161001_marc_full.bin||= MARC Full File from Oct 1, 2016|
For further information about the organization of files and file naming coventions visit our MeSH FTP guide
Have questions concerning the content of MeSH/MARC files, downloading from FTP, or just want to provide feedback?
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Last Reviewed: February 26, 2020