PubMed: Why Use MeSH?
Why Use MeSH?
MeSH terms impose uniformity and consistency to the indexing of biomedical literature and are applied to citations when they are indexed for MEDLINE. This system offers three main advantages:
1. MeSH indexing facilitates the retrieval of relevant articles even when authors have used different words or spellings to describe the same topic.
Lung cancer, lung tumor, lung neoplasm, and pulmonary cancer are all possible synonyms for the same topic. The MeSH term Lung Neoplasms covers all of the variations, saving you from having to type them all into your search.
2. MeSH indexing increases the discoverability of citations.
If a citation has no abstract or otherwise does not effectively convey the topic(s) discussed in the article, MeSH indexing allows for discovery of this citation even by basic keyword searching.
3. MeSH indexing facilitates searching of both the broad and the narrow simultaneously due to the existence of the MeSH hierarchy.
MeSH Headings, Subheadings and Publication Types are organized in hierarchies, or "MeSH trees".
At the most general level of the hierarchy are very broad headings such as "Anatomy" or "Mental Disorders". More specific headings are found at narrower levels of the hierarchy, such as "Ankle" and "Conduct Disorder". A MeSH term can be part of one or more hierarchies.