What is MeSH?

MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) is the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s controlled vocabulary, a standard collection of terms used to index PubMed article contents.

  • MeSH terminology imposes uniformity and consistency to the indexing of the biomedical literature.
  • Searching using MeSH pulls together all articles on a concept including synonyms and allows for spelling variations.

When searching Pubmed with terms, e.g.: joint replacement  the search results will include:

  • The entry term translated to MeSH terminology: Arthroplasty, replacement
  • A display of Subheadings that further describe contents of an article.
  • A display of a MeSH term hierarchically, for example, the term Arthroplasty, replacement and its narrower terms.
  • The important point: a search using the MeSH term will  include results indexed with all of the narrower  (indented) terms.