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

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

Finding Appropriate MeSH Headings

  • If you are having difficulties in finding appropriate descriptors in the MeSH Browser:
    • try to think of some synonyms for the concept and search those terms
    • identify a broader or narrower descriptor and examine the trees to find if there is a more appropriate descriptor for your item

  • For very new concepts or particularly problematic titles, try searching the NLM Catalog, PubMed®, or MeSH on Demand tool for some of the keywords you have identified, or for other works by the author of your piece

  • Seeing headings assigned to similar material may assist you in assigning the proper MeSH
    • One word of caution: indexers often use more specific descriptors than a cataloger would; you may find the most appropriate heading higher in the tree


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Last Reviewed: July 19, 2017