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

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

Drugs and Chemicals

  • MeSH contains thousands of chemical terms, so it is likely that specific chemicals will be found by searching the MeSH Browser. Check carefully that the chemical term is a Descriptor rather than a Supplementary Concept Record (SCR) which cannot be used by catalogers. Each SCR points to one or more Descriptors in the Heading Mapped To field which should be used instead

  • In many cases the work being cataloged is describing the functional aspect of a chemical: as therapeutic or diagnostic agents; environmental pollutants; endogenous substances, etc.

  • In these cases, coordinate the chemical with an appropriate Pharmacologic Action (PA) found in the MeSH record

  • For example, the peptide Viomycin, has three Pharmacologic Actions in the MeSH Browser:
    • Anti-Bacterial Agents
    • Antibiotics, Antitubercular
    • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors

  • If your work is about the use of viomycin in the treatment of tuberculosis, coordinate Viomycin with Antibiotics, Antitubercular (as well as the disease term Tuberculosis or its specific types)

  • If your work is on use of viomycin in some context that is not represented by the existing Pharmacologic Actions, search the MeSH D27 tree and select the most appropriate descriptor

  • Example of a Drug Record

    Screen capture of MeSH Browser showing the Drug Record.


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Last Reviewed: July 27, 2017