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Medical Subject Headings

User Suggestions for Medical Subject Headings

Your Feedback is Welcome!

The NLM Customer Support Center provides a variety of help topics on NLM products. You can also select the Write to the help desk button to submit a request for a change or addition to MeSH vocabulary. Please review the guidelines below to ensure that your request is processed correctly.

MeSH vocabulary suggestions are reviewed for literary warrant and other criteria of usefulness, for reproducibility in use, and for understandability. Our mission is to produce a clear and concise vocabulary that is useful for indexing and retrieval of biomedical literature. Each entry term expression in MeSH is unique and carefully chosen to avoid expressions that are multimeaning. Although MeSH works closely with a variety of NLM departments that provide indexing, citation data, and publications we are not directly involved in these processes and cannot provide answers for questions related to these areas.

To help us expedite your request please follow the guidelines below:

  1. Please click: Write to the help desk to open a new window or tab with an online request form.
  2. Locate the Subject box and enter the one of the following as the subject of your request:
    1. To suggest a new MeSH term or descriptor (heading): "New MeSH term"
    2. For changes to MeSH vocabulary: "MeSH term change"
    3. For corrections to a MeSH concept or meaning: "MeSH correction"
    4. For corrections or changes to the MeSH tree hierarchy: "MeSH tree change"
    5. None of the above? Please feel free to provide your own Subject.
  3. Describe the change or addition to MeSH and any relevant additional information (e.g., reason for your suggested change; citations to support) in the Description box.
  4. Note that providing your Email will allow us to let you know what we did.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Why was my request for a commonly used acronym rejected?
Note that we get many individual requests for short acronyms. While short acronyms appear to make sense for quick and easy search and retrieval, we have many areas of study in MeSH that share similar or identical acronyms. Therefore, in general, we avoid short acronyms because of the ambiguities they create.
How can I get MeSH terms added to an existing citation?
In general the policy of the library is not to re-index articles already indexed. The policy involves newly introduced terms.  However, if an existing citation could benefit from the addition of other MeSH available at the time the citation was originally indexed, then NLM Indexers will evaluate that request.
When will my requested change appear in MeSH?
Right now MeSH is released once a year in late November.  If you do not see your change in the new release of MeSH it may appear in the following year.

Last Reviewed: August 9, 2021