pubmed mesh medical subject headings module 4 3
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PubMed/MeSH - Medical Subject Headings (module 4.3)

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PubMed/MeSH - Medical Subject Headings (module 4.3). MODULE 4.3 PubMed/MeSH (Medical Subject Headings). Instructions - This part of the: course is a PowerPoint demonstration intended to introduce you to PubMed/MeSH.

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module 4 3 pubmed mesh medical subject headings
MODULE 4.3PubMed/MeSH (Medical Subject Headings)
  • Instructions - This part of the:
  • course is a PowerPoint demonstration intended to introduce you to PubMed/MeSH.
  • module is off-line and is intended as an information resource for reference use.
table of contents
Table of Contents
  • Using MeSH in PubMed
  • The MeSH database
      • Major Topic Headings and Explode
      • Using MeSH terms
      • Geographic regions
logging on to hinari 1
Logging on to HINARI 1

Before logging into PubMed, we can Login to the HINARI website using the URL

logging into hinari 2
Logging into HINARI 2

We will need to insert our HINARI User Name and Password in the Login box and click on the Login button.

Note: If you do not properly sign on, you will not have access to full text articles from the HINARI/PubMed database.


Remember - if you fail to use the Login page, you will have a second option on the Full text journals, databases, and other resources sub-page.

main hinari webpage
Main HINARI webpage

Welcome to the PubMed Homepage. Part 3 will look at MeSH or Medical Subject Headings.

To access the MeSH Database, click on the link on the left column of the PubMed home page.

Once you are logged in from the main HINARI webpage, access PubMed by clicking on Search HINARI journal articles through PubMed (Medline).

mesh database


MeSH database

MeSH is the controlled vocabulary for indexing articles for MEDLINE. MeSH Terms are assigned as Keywords to each record that is “Indexed for MEDLINE”.

searching in mesh
Searching in MeSH

To find a MeSH term, type your search in the query box and click on Go.

In this example we will check for a MeSH Term for Cancer.

mesh search results
MeSH search results

From these results we see that the MeSH term for Cancer is Neoplasms.

Click on the linked term for more information.

mesh terms
MeSH Terms

The record for a MeSH term contains a definition of the term, associated subheadings, a list of entry terms, and the tree view of MeSH.

Highlighted above is the definition provided for the term Neoplasms.

mesh subheadings
MeSH Subheadings

All Subheadings associated with a MeSH term are displayed below the definition.

major mesh and exploding a term
Major MeSH and exploding a term

Below the subheadings are two check boxes. The first box restricts terms to Major Topic Headings only.

The second box is to instruct PubMed not to Explode a term.

entry terms and see also references
Entry terms and See Also references

Entry Terms are listed along with See Also references.

mesh structure diagram
MeSH structure diagram

Each record also has a tree view of MeSH displaying the term and its position in the MeSH structure.

dengue 1
Dengue 1

To search for records with Dengue as a MeSH term enter the term in the Search box.

dengue 2
Dengue 2

There are a number of MeSH terms containing the term Dengue. We now will click on the box for this term.

dengue 3
Dengue 3

Here is the main Dengue MeSH record and associated subheadings.

dengue 4
Dengue 4

To search PubMed, check the box next to the MeSH term and, from the Send to drop down menu, select/click on the Search box with AND.

dengue 5
Dengue 5

The Term is now entered into the search box. From here you can add keywords or more MeSH Terms to the search. To search click on the Search PubMed button.


If you click on the Abstract display/MeSH Terms (at the bottom of the abstract), you can view all the MeSH terms.

dengue 7
Dengue 7

To search using subheadings, select the appropriate Subheading(s) by checking the selection boxes.

To use a MeSH term with Subheadings in a PubMed search, you will need to go to the Send to drop down menu and click on Search Box with AND.

dengue 8
Dengue 8

This time we are searching for the MeSH term Denguewith a subheading of prevention and control.

To use these terms in PubMed, you must click on Search PubMed.


Here are the results of a PubMed search for Dengue/prevention and control[MeSH] in Summary display.


If you click on the Abstract display/MeSH Terms, you can view all the terms including Dengue/prevention & control.

dengue major mesh topic 1
Dengue Major MeSH topic 1

When we restrict to Major Topic Headings only we are just selecting articles where the primary subject matter was Dengue.

dengue major mesh topic 2
Dengue Major MeSH topic 2

In this example we can see that the Dengue MeSH term is limited to Major Topic Headings[MAJR].

mesh history page
MeSH History page

The History compares the difference between searching for Dengue as a keyword, Major Mesh Term and MeSH term. Note the smaller numbers for the more refined search results.

geographical mesh terms 2
Geographical MeSH terms 2

There are MeSH terms assigned for geographical regions and countries. In this example we will look at the MeSH terms for Asia.

geographical mesh terms 3
Geographical MeSH terms 3

In the tree view, we can see a breakdown of Asia by region and country.

geographical mesh terms 4
Geographical MeSH terms 4

From within the Asia listing, Southeastern region, we will select Myanmar.

geographical mesh terms 5
Geographical MeSH terms 5

In this example, we can see that “Burma” and “Myanma” are Entry Terms for Myanmar.

geographical mesh terms 6
Geographical MeSH terms 6

In this example, we will search for Myanmar as a MeSH term.

geographical mesh terms 7
Geographical MeSH terms 7

The articles highlighted have Myanmar in their titles and are some of 892 articles with Myanmar as a MeSH term.

mesh developing countries 2
MeSH – Developing countries 2

In this example, we can see the definition for Developing Countries and Entry Terms that will map to this MeSH Term .

The Developing Countries MeSH term was introduced in 1971 and is defined by the NLM, and not by the UNDP or World Bank.

mesh developing countries 4
MeSH – Developing countries 4

In this example, we are going to search PubMed for articles tagged with the Developing CountriesMeSH term.

this is the end of module 4 part 3
This is the end of Module 4 Part 3

The results of the Developing Countries[Mesh] search is 52168 articles.

This is the end of Module 4 Part 3.

There is a workbook to accompany this part of the module. The workbook will take you through a live session covering the topics included in this demonstration with working examples.

Updated 10 2009