Module 4: MeSH Search Techniques for Special Queries

When Is It Appropriate to Tag My Subject Terms?

Turn off Automatic Term Mapping (ATM)

You can also use tags to turn off ATM. One example of when you may tag your search to turn off ATM is phrase searching. Many phrases are recognized by ATM and will map to their relevant MeSH term; for example, if you search for fever of unknown origin, PubMed will recognize that phrase as a MeSH term.

Search Details of Fever of Unknown origin

If the phrase doesn’t map, PubMed will break it apart and attempt to map each individual term. Below is an example of searching for the phrase pressure point, which is not in MeSH.

Search Details of pressure point, showing search of seperate terms

In this case, PubMed translated pressure and point separately.

If you wanted to force PubMed to search pressure point as a phrase, you can use the tag for text word: [tw]. Your search will look like this: pressure point[tw].

Search details of Pressure Point[tw]

Caution About Turning Off ATM

Citations are indexed with the most specific MeSH term available to describe their content. Turning off ATM may result in missing relevant citations.

For more examples of searching PubMed with phrases, view the PubMed User Guide .