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National Library of Medicine Technical BulletinNational Library of Medicine Technical Bulletin

Table of Contents: 2014 MAY–JUNE No. 398

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MeSH on Demand Tool: An Easy Way to Identify Relevant MeSH Terms

Cho D. MeSH on Demand Tool: An Easy Way to Identify Relevant MeSH Terms. NLM Tech Bull. 2014 May-Jun;(398):e2.

2014 May 05 [posted]
2014 June 17 [Editor's note added]
2014 August 22 [Editor's note added]

[Editor's note added on August 22, 2014: For updated information, see the article, MeSH on Demand Update: How to Find Citations Related to Your Text.]

The National Library of Medicine is pleased to announce the launch of MeSH on Demand, a new feature that uses the NLM Medical Text Indexer (MTI) to find MeSH terms.


Currently, the MeSH Browser allows for searches of MeSH terms, text-word searches of the Annotation and Scope Note, and searches of various fields for chemicals. These searches assume that users are familiar with MeSH terms and using the MeSH Browser.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find MeSH terms directly from your text such as an abstract or grant summary? MeSH on Demand has been developed in close collaboration among MeSH Section, NLM Index Section, and the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications to address this need.

Using MeSH on Demand

Use MeSH on Demand to find MeSH terms relevant to your text up to 10,000 characters. One of the strengths of MeSH on Demand is its ease of use without any prior knowledge of the MeSH vocabulary and without any downloads.

From the MeSH on Demand homepage (see Figure 1), add your text, such as an abstract, into the box labeled "Text to be Processed." Then, click the "Find MeSH Terms" button. Please read the Helpful Hints section of the homepage to improve your results.

Screen capture of the MeSH on Demand homepage
Figure 1. The MeSH on Demand homepage

For example, the abstract below (see Figure 2) contains the phrase "treatment-resistant depression." The relevant MeSH Heading found for that concept is Depressive Disorder, Treatment-Resistant. MeSH on Demand finds MeSH Headings, Publication Types, and Supplementary Concepts, but not Qualifiers (Subheadings).

Select the green question mark button question mark icon next to the MeSH term or the MeSH term itself to open a new window with the MeSH Browser for that MeSH term.

Screen capture of the MeSH on Demand results page
Figure 2. The MeSH on Demand results page


Please note the Disclaimer (see Figure 2) that these MeSH terms are machine generated by MTI and do not reflect any human review. While the results will be different from human-generated indexing, MeSH on Demand does find relevant MeSH terms that can help jump-start finding MeSH terms in your search area.

Suggestions and Feedback

We welcome your feedback on MeSH on Demand and MTI. Please send comments and questions to NLM Customer Service with "MeSH on Demand" in the subject box.

We also look forward to seeing your ideas for other helpful tools to utilize the MeSH vocabulary and NLM resources more easily. Please contact us at

Coming Soon

[Editor's note added on June 17, 2014: This change has been implemented (see Figure 3).]

Soon you will be able to access MeSH on Demand from the MeSH Browser homepage.

Screen capture of the MeSH Browser homepage with the MeSH on Demand logo.
Figure 3. MeSH Browser homepage with the MeSH on Demand logo

By Dan Cho
MeSH Section

NLM Technical Bulletin National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health