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National Library of Medicine Technical BulletinNational Library of Medicine Technical Bulletin

Table of Contents: 2017 MARCH–APRIL No. 415

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Adding MeSH URIs to NLM Catalog Records

Boehr D. Adding MeSH URIs to NLM Catalog Records. NLM Tech Bull. 2017 Mar-Apr;(415):e5.

2017 April 26 [posted]
2017 June 13 [Editor's note added]

As part of the library community's effort to prepare current bibliographic data for the eventual transfer to a linked data environment, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) will be adding Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI) to the MeSH subject fields in its catalog records. The URIs will be recorded in the $0 of the MARC 21 650, 651 and 655 fields and provide a machine actionable link to the MeSH RDF records for each subject.

The URIs will be in this format: https://id.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/D015242. The example is for the MeSH descriptor Ofloxacin.

For more information about MeSH RDF, see Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) RDF Linked Data (beta).

These data will be distributed to subscribers of the NLM catalog record data: Catfile, CatfilePlus and Serfile. We anticipate the updated catalog records will be distributed in summer 2017. Once the date is finalized NLM will alert the community with the exact information. As virtually every catalog record in the NLM database will be updated, subscribers should expect to receive very large files at that time.

Subscribers should prepare for this change by determining how their systems will handle the new subfields and if they want to store and/or display this information in their local catalogs. Because the URI is meant for machine-processing, rather than human consumption, NLM has chosen not to display this subfield in its default views in LocatorPlus or the NLM Catalog. It will, however, be visible in the MARC view of LocatorPlus (see figures 1 and 2) and the XML view of the NLM Catalog (see figures 3 and 4).

While the actionable URI will be distributed to OCLC in $0 the data will be stored by OCLC behind the scenes and not be visible in OCLC records. It will not be exportable from OCLC. The OCLC $0 only displays the MeSH authority control number, for more information see MeSH Identifiers in OCLC Records.


LocatorPlus Detailed View.
Figure 1: LocatorPlus — Detailed View.

LocatorPlus MARC View.
Figure 2: LocatorPlus — MARC View.

NLM Catalog Full display.
Figure 3: NLM Catalog — Full display.

[Editor's note: Figure 4 was replaced on June 13, 2017.]


NLM Catalog XML view.
Figure 4: NLM Catalog — XML view.

By Diane Boehr
Head, Cataloging and Metadata Management Section

NLM Technical Bulletin National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health