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Cataloging and Metadata Management: Using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®) in Cataloging

Module 4— Descriptors: Selecting the Main Concept(s)

Aspects of a topic are conveyed by (in order of preference when available)

    • Pre-coordinated descriptors
    • Descriptor/qualifier (Main heading/subheading) combinations
    • Multiple descriptors

Pre-coordinated Descriptors vs. Qualifiers

  • To convey the concept of surgery of the liver you would need to use the descriptor Liver plus the qualifier surgery
  • To convey the concept of surgery of the biliary tract you would use the pre-coordinated descriptor Biliary Tract Surgical Procedures

Pre-coordinated Descriptors vs. Multiple Descriptors

  • Multiple descriptors may be needed to convey a concept
    • For the concept of “research in occupational therapy” you would use two descriptors:
      Occupational Therapy
    • However, for the concept of “research in nursing” you use only the pre-coordinated descriptor:
      Nursing Research

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