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PubMed: Glossary

PubMed Glossary

Automatic Term Mapping the process used by PubMed to find a match to untagged search terms that are entered into the query box. Terms are matched against subjects using the MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) translation table, journals using the Journals translation table, and authors and investigators.
Boolean Operators AND, OR, and NOT are the Boolean operators available in PubMed. Boolean operators are used to combine search terms.
Field Tag a word or abbreviation designating field to be searched. In PubMed, field tags are placed in square brackets after the search term they qualify. Example: Black[author] will find the name Black in the author field of a journal citation. Black[title] will find the articles with the word "black" in the article title. 
Indexed assigned controlled vocabulary (MeSH) terms.
MeSH Medical Subject Headings. MeSH is the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary system used for indexing journal articles for MEDLINE and also used for cataloging books and audiovisuals.
MeSH Major Topic the MeSH terms that are the main points of an article.
MEDLINE the National Library of Medicine's premier bibliographic database covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences.
PMID PubMed ID, the unique identifier assigned to a record when it enters PubMed.
Subheading a term used with a MeSH Heading to help focus on a specific aspect of a subject.  Part of the MeSH controlled vocabulary system.
Truncation searching for a text word or phrase with variant endings. The truncation symbol in PubMed is * (an asterisk). So, for example, a search for smoke* will retrieve smoke, smokes, smoked, smoking, smoker, smokescreen, etc.