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National Library of Medicine Technical BulletinNational Library of Medicine Technical Bulletin

Table of Contents: 2022 NOVEMBER–DECEMBER No. 449

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Use of 2023 MeSH in Cataloging

Use of 2023 MeSH in Cataloging. NLM Tech Bull. 2022 Nov-Dec;(449):e5.

2022 December 06 [posted]
2022 December 15 [updated]

[Update: As of December 15, 2022, the 2022 base files for all MARC, NLMXML and MARCXML products as well as the weekly Catfile distribution file for December 15 have been posted at A reminder that any records updated between December 1 and December 14 are only available in the base file.]

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) adopted the 2023 MeSH vocabulary for cataloging on December 6, 2022. For additions and changes to MeSH terminology for 2023, see What's New in MeSH.

Implications for LocatorPlus Catalog and the NLM Catalog

Accordingly, MeSH subject headings in the LocatorPlus Catalog were changed to reflect the 2023 MeSH vocabulary and appear in that form as of December 6, 2022.

It is anticipated that the NLM Catalog database and translation tables will be updated to reflect 2023 MeSH by mid-December 2022. Until then, there will be a brief hiatus in the addition of new and edited bibliographic records to the NLM Catalog.

Implications for Downloading Catalog Record Data

The last weekly Catfile distribution with 2022 MeSH terms was on December 1. Weekly Catfile distribution will resume on December 15 and will contain 2023 MeSH. Any records updated between December 1 and December 15 will only be available in the baseline file. A follow-up announcement will be posted when the baseline files for MARC and XML data are available.

The last monthly CatfilePlus and Serfile distribution with 2022 MeSH was on December 1. See also Download Catalog Record Data (Catfile, CatfilePlus, Serfile).

Implications for the NLM Classification

The winter version of the NLM Classification is scheduled to be published in late January 2023 and will encompass changes resulting from new and changed MeSH terms for 2023, as well as additional minor updates to the index. The main index terms will continue to link to the 2022 MeSH until the Winter 2023 edition is published in January.

The NLM Classification number appears in many terms in the MeSH browser and is supplied by the Cataloging and Metadata Management Section (CaMMS) when the MeSH term points to a single classification number. These class numbers are current as of the Winter 2022 edition of the NLM Classification. They will be updated with the publication of the 2023 Winter edition in January 2023.

MeSH 2023 Changes in NLM Bibliographic Records and Cataloging Policy

Generally, vocabulary changes in NLM bibliographic records for books, serials, and other materials were implemented as they were applied for citations in MEDLINE.

A new 2023 heading was created for Population Groups, US. MeSH headings under Population Groups, US are restricted to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) terms for people in the United States. When the 651 United States (or its subordinate areas) are used for works discussing specific U.S. population groups, catalogers must use one of the terms falling in Population Groups, US.

Several new MeSH headings were created under Population Groups for people outside of the United States. When a 651 outside of the United States is used or for when no geographic area is indicated, catalogers should use the broader people terms when that is the focus of the work.

Publication Types

There were no Publication Types (PT) added or changed for MeSH 2023, however, there was a change in cataloging policy for the use of existing PT Validation Study. The annotation "CATALOGER: Do not use" was removed. As of 2023 MeSH, catalogers will assign Validation Study to a work when the title or summary explicitly states that it is a validation study.

Geographic Headings

Two new geographic descriptors were added (Asia, Southern and Maldives), and one was modified (Far East changed to Asia, Eastern). Any Table G notation additions or changes in the NLM Classification will be addressed with the 2023 Winter edition of the NLM Classification.

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