|Description||Medical Subject Headings|
|Research center|| United States National Library of Medicine |
National Center for Biotechnology Information
|Laboratory||United States National Library of Medicine|
|Authors||F B Rogers|
|Primary citation||PMID 13982385|
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) is a comprehensive controlled vocabulary for the purpose of indexing journal articles and books in the life sciences. It serves as a thesaurus that facilitates searching. Created and updated by the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), it is used by the MEDLINE/PubMed article database and by NLM's catalog of book holdings. MeSH is also used by ClinicalTrials.gov registry to classify which diseases are studied by trials registered in ClinicalTrials.
Controlled vocabularies provide a way to organize knowledge for subsequent retrieval. They are used in subject indexing schemes, subject headings, thesauri, taxonomies and other forms of knowledge organization systems. Controlled vocabulary schemes mandate the use of predefined, authorised terms that have been preselected by the designers of the schemes, in contrast to natural language vocabularies, which have no such restriction.
Subject indexing is the act of describing or classifying a document by index terms or other symbols in order to indicate what the document is about, to summarize its content or to increase its findability. In other words, it is about identifying and describing the subject of documents. Indexes are constructed, separately, on three distinct levels: terms in a document such as a book; objects in a collection such as a library; and documents within a field of knowledge.
In the context of information retrieval, a thesaurus is a form of controlled vocabulary that seeks to dictate semantic manifestations of metadata in the indexing of content objects. A thesaurus serves to minimise semantic ambiguity by ensuring uniformity and consistency in the storage and retrieval of the manifestations of content objects. ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 defines a content object as "any item that is to be described for inclusion in an information retrieval system, website, or other source of information". The thesaurus aids the assignment of preferred terms to convey semantic metadata associated with the content object.
MeSH was introduced in the 1960s, with the NLM's own index catalogue and the subject headings of the Quarterly Cumulative Index Medicus (1940 edition) as precursors. The yearly printed version of MeSH was discontinued in 2007 and MeSH is now available online only.It can be browsed and downloaded free of charge through PubMed. Originally in English, MeSH has been translated into numerous other languages and allows retrieval of documents from different origins.
Index Medicus (IM) is a curated subset of MEDLINE, which is a bibliographic database of life science and biomedical science information, principally scientific journal articles. From 1879 to 2004, Index Medicus was a comprehensive bibliographic index of such articles in the form of a print index or its onscreen equivalent. Medical history experts have said of Index Medicus that it is “America's greatest contribution to medical knowledge.”
PubMed is a free search engine accessing primarily the MEDLINE database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. The United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health maintains the database as part of the Entrez system of information retrieval.
The 2009 version of MeSH contains a total of 25,186 subject headings, also known as descriptors.Most of these are accompanied by a short description or definition, links to related descriptors, and a list of synonyms or very similar terms (known as entry terms).
This additional information and the hierarchical structure (see below) make the MeSH essentially a thesaurus, rather than a plain subject headings list.
The descriptors or subject headings are arranged in a hierarchy. A given descriptor may appear at several locations in the hierarchical tree. The tree locations carry systematic labels known as tree numbers, and consequently one descriptor can carry several tree numbers. For example, the descriptor "Digestive System Neoplasms" has the tree numbers C06.301 and C04.588.274; C stands for Diseases, C06 for Digestive System Diseases and C06.301 for Digestive System Neoplasms; C04 for Neoplasms, C04.588 for Neoplasms By Site, and C04.588.274 also for Digestive System Neoplasms. The tree numbers of a given descriptor are subject to change as MeSH is updated. Every descriptor also carries a unique alphanumerical ID that will not change.
Most subject headings come with a short description or definition. See the MeSH description for diabetes type 2 as an example. The explanatory text is written by the MeSH team based on their standard sources if not otherwise stated. References are mostly encyclopaedias and standard textbooks of the subject areas. References for specific statements in the descriptions are not given, instead readers are referred to the bibliography.
In addition to the descriptor hierarchy, MeSH contains a small number of standard qualifiers (also known as subheadings), which can be added to descriptors to narrow down the topic.For example, "Measles" is a descriptor and "epidemiology" is a qualifier; "Measles/epidemiology" describes the subheading of epidemiological articles about Measles. The "epidemiology" qualifier can be added to all other disease descriptors. Not all descriptor/qualifier combinations are allowed since some of them may be meaningless. In all there are 83 different qualifiers.
In addition to the descriptors, MeSH also contains some 139,000 supplementary concept records. These do not belong to the controlled vocabulary as such; instead they enlarge the thesaurus and contain links to the closest fitting descriptor to be used in a MEDLINE search. Many of these records describe chemical substances.
In MEDLINE/PubMed, every journal article is indexed with about 10–15 subject headings, subheadings and supplementary concept records, with some of them designated as major and marked with an asterisk, indicating the article's major topics. When performing a MEDLINE search via PubMed, entry terms are automatically translated into (i.e. mapped to) the corresponding descriptors with a good degree of reliability; it is recommended to check the 'Details tab' in PubMed to see how a search formulation was translated. By default, a search for a descriptor will include all the descriptors in the hierarchy below the given one.
In ClinicalTrials.gov, each trial has keywords that describe the trial. The ClinicalTrials.gov team assigns each trial two sets of MeSH terms. One set for the conditions studied by the trial and another for the set of interventions used in the trial. The XML file that can be downloaded for each trial contains these MeSH keywords. The XML file also has a comment that says: "the assignment of MeSH keywords is done by imperfect algorithm".
The top-level categories in the MeSH descriptor hierarchy are:
MEDLINE is a bibliographic database of life sciences and biomedical information. It includes bibliographic information for articles from academic journals covering medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and health care. MEDLINE also covers much of the literature in biology and biochemistry, as well as fields such as molecular evolution.
The United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), operated by the United States federal government, is the world's largest medical library.
A metabolic disorder can happen when abnormal chemical reactions in the body alter the normal metabolic process. It can also be defined as inherited single gene anomaly, most of which are autosomal recessive.
Hemoglobin c is an abnormal hemoglobin in which substitution of a glutamic acid residue with a lysine residue at the 6th position of the β-globin chain has occurred.
An index term, subject term, subject heading, or descriptor, in information retrieval, is a term that captures the essence of the topic of a document. Index terms make up a controlled vocabulary for use in bibliographic records. They are an integral part of bibliographic control, which is the function by which libraries collect, organize and disseminate documents. They are used as keywords to retrieve documents in an information system, for instance, a catalog or a search engine. A popular form of keywords on the web are tags which are directly visible and can be assigned by non-experts. Index terms can consist of a word, phrase, or alphanumerical term. They are created by analyzing the document either manually with subject indexing or automatically with automatic indexing or more sophisticated methods of keyword extraction. Index terms can either come from a controlled vocabulary or be freely assigned.
GoPubMed was a knowledge-based search engine for biomedical texts. The Gene Ontology (GO) and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) served as "Table of contents" in order to structure the millions of articles in the MEDLINE database. MeshPubMed was at one point a separate project, but the two were merged.
The Journal of Clinical Microbiology is a monthly medical journal published by the American Society for Microbiology. The journal was established in 1975. The editor-in-chief is Alexander J. McAdam. It is a delayed open access journal full text content is available free after a six-month embargo.
Medical literature retrieval or medical document retrieval is an activity that uses professional methods for medical research papers retrieval, report and other data to improve medicine research and practice.
DeCS – Health Sciences Descriptors is a structured and trilingual thesaurus created by BIREME – Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information – in 1987 for indexing scientific journal articles, books, proceedings of congresses, technical reports and other types of materials, as well as for searching and recovering scientific information in LILACS, MEDLINE and other databases. In the VHL, Virtual Health Library, DeCS is the tool that permits the navigation between records and sources of information through controlled concepts and organized in Portuguese, Spanish and English.
An acanthoma is a skin neoplasm composed of squamous or epidermal cells. It is located in the prickle cell layer.
The International Journal of Epidemiology is a bimonthly peer-reviewed medical journal covering research in epidemiology. It is the official journal of the International Epidemiological Association and is published by Oxford University Press. The journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics. The editor-in-chief is Stephen Leeder.
Gram-negative bacterial infection refers to a disease caused by gram-negative bacteria. One example is E. coli.
Expert Opinion on Medical Diagnostics was a peer-reviewed medical journal publishing review articles on all aspects of medical diagnostics for early disease diagnosis, therapy selection, patient recruitment into clinical trials, predicting predisposition to disease, and information for the design of new treatments. Each review included an "expert opinion" section, in which authors were asked to provide their personal view on the current status and future direction of the research discussed. The journal was published by Informa from 2007 to 2013. It was abstracted and indexed in Index medicus/MEDLINE/PubMed.
Anne O'Tate is a free, web-based application that analyses sets of records identified on PubMed, the bibliographic database of articles from over 5,500 biomedical journals worldwide. While PubMed has its own wide range of search options to identify sets of records relevant to a researchers query it lacks the ability to analyse these sets of records further, a process for which the terms text mining and drill down have been used. Anne O'Tate is able to perform such analysis and can process sets of up to 25,000 PubMed records.
Pathogens and Global Health is a peer-reviewed medical journal published by Maney Publishing. It covers tropical diseases, including their microbiology, epidemiology and molecular biology, as well as medical entomology, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. The editor-in-chief is Andrea Crisanti.
The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy is a peer-reviewed medical journal which covers antimicrobial chemotherapy, including laboratory aspects and clinical use of antimicrobial agents. It is published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy and was established in 1975. In January 2015 J. Peter Donnelly became the eighth editor-in-chief replacing Alan P. Johnson. The journal has had two previous publishers. All content is available for free after 12 months while authors also have the option to have their articles published immediately as open access.
Arrowsmith was a Literature-based discovery system built by Don R. Swanson using the concept of Undiscovered Public Knowledge. He called it Arrowsmith: ‘An intellectual adventure’
"Imagine that the pieces of a puzzle are independently designed and created, and that, when retrieved and assembled, they then reveal a pattern – undesigned, unintended, and never before seen, yet a pattern that commands interest and invites interpretation. So it is, I claim, that independently created pieces of knowledge can harbor an unseen, unknown, and unintended pattern. And so it is that the world of recorded knowledge can yield genuinely new discoveries"
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