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2020 MeSH Highlights

Each year the Medical Subject Headings are updated with changes, additions and deletions. This webinar, presented by Sarah Helson from the National Library of Medicine, highlights new and important changes for 2020 MeSH and discuss how they will impact you as a PubMed searcher.

For more information about MeSH, see the MeSH homepage.

Questions & Answers:

Q: When do you use Indigenous Peoples versus terms like Oceanic Ancestry Group, etc.?
A: As a general rule, indexers and catalogers follow the emphasis of author.  If the emphasis of the writing is on, for example, maintaining the distinct culture of an indigenous group as others populate an area, the term Indigenous Peoples would be applied. This term would also be coordinated with specific groups, such as Oceanic Ancestry Group, when appropriate.

Q: Does "Citizen Science" include science done with the assistance of professionals?
A: Indexers and catalogers follow the emphasis of author. If the writing discusses voluntary public participation in science, particularly where non-scientists play an active role in the process, this MeSH term may be applied. Note that there is also the broader term, Community-Based Participatory Research, that may be appropriate for description or searching. Read the scope notes carefully.

Q: Is Randomized Controlled Trial, Veterinary used for non-veterinary animal studies?
A: Indexers use Clinical Trial, Veterinary (including Randomized) if the study is to treat or diagnose a naturally occurring disease in animals, and not disease induced in laboratory animals (using an Animal disease model).

Q: Will Infections be considered as a Broad Subject Term?
A: Journals dealing with infectious disease are given the Broad Subject Term "Communicable Diseases." We may also combine this with other terms like AIDS, Parasitology, Allergy & Immunology, etc., as appropriate. We will add “Infections” as part of the “includes” statement for “Communicable Diseases” in the list of Broad Subject Headings. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Q: What do two "Years Introduced" mean on the MeSH record?
A: The simple answer is that you can search a database with this MeSH term back to the earliest date provided. The more recent date reflects a change to the terminology - usually a change to the preferred term with no significant change in scope. This does not affect searching. A fuller explanation is provided in the class "MeSH Changes and PubMed Searching." 

Q: How do I make suggestions for improvements to MeSH?
A: To help improve MeSH, please submit your suggestions using these instructions.


Last Reviewed: March 27, 2020