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PubMed (Database Instruction)

This guide will assist you in using PubMed's new interface. PubMed is a free database that contains more than 30 million citations and abstracts of peer-reviewed biomedical literature.

MeSH - Medical Subject Headings

MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) is the National Library of Medicine’s controlled vocabulary thesaurus used for indexing and searching articles in PubMed.

Here are a couple of ways that MeSH works in our favour. 

  1. Controlled vocabulary means that the group has decided that they will always refer to a topic in the same way. (Ex. We always use ‘Gastroesophageal Reflux’ instead of Acid Reflux or any combination of terms related to this topic). This makes indexing easier and more consistent as there are many ways to describe many topics. 

  2. MeSH terms are organized into a hierarchy or “tree structure” from broad to narrower terms. MeSH trees can be a very useful tool to explore a topic and gain perspective on related terms.


How to use MeSH:
  • Browse the MeSH trees with MeSH Tree View (click + to expand sections and explore trees)
  • Search the MeSH Thesaurus with  MeSH Browser (MeSH Browser Help)
  • Automatic Term Mapping will look at the MeSH tables and include any MeSH terms that are appliable to your search
  • Manually add MeSH terms to your searches by using the field tag [mesh]

More about MeSH in PubMed