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

Module 5— Qualifiers (Subheadings)


  • Qualifiers or subheadings, are used to narrow the specific focus of a main topical heading to a particular aspect of the subject. For example:
    • The diagnosis or therapy of a disease
    • The physiology or pathology of an organ
    • The metabolism of a drug
    • The economics of providing a service

  • A list of all the qualifiers can be found here.

  • Qualifiers are generally used only with topical headings, with two exceptions for geographical descriptors

  • Qualifiers can also be searched and retrieved in the MeSH Browser. They can be distinguished from Descriptors because the terms are all in lower case.


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Last Reviewed: June 16, 2017