U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

NLM logo

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

Module 5—Qualifiers (Subheadings)

Use of Qualifiers

  • Not every qualifier is permitted for use with every descriptor

  • The Descriptor tree categories are a general guide to which qualifiers are permitted with certain descriptors. A list of qualifiers by allowable category is available here

  • However, there are many exceptions, so the cataloger should always check the qualifiers list found in each descriptor record in the MeSH Browser

  • Geographicals from the Z tree have only two possible qualifiers:
    • epidemiology
    • ethnology

  • Qualifiers are never used with names, work titles, or publication characteristics

  • Annotations in the MeSH Browser record may provide guidance on when and how to use certain qualifiers. These are guidelines, rather than hard and fast rules

  • Also check the Entry Combination field in the MeSH Browser record for the descriptor to see if there is a pre-coordinated descriptor for the concept

Annotation and Entry Combination Example

Screen capture of main MeSH Browser search screen with Annotation and Entry Combination Example.


Previous Section | Next Section

Last Reviewed: July 27, 2017