Have you had your Breakfast?
That’s just one of the new subject headings available to PubMed searchers in 2013. The example to the left illustrates how MeSH (medical subject heading) terms are used in PubMed.
Basic searches in PubMed often include MeSH terms. This is because PubMed tries to enhance your results through automatic term mapping. When PubMed recognizes that one of your keywords matches a MeSH term, your results are retrieved through a combination of your own keywords and added MeSH vocabulary.
This is possible because when articles are indexed, indexers can select from a MeSH vocabulary list. Searching with MeSH terms can increase the relevance of results to your topic. For more on searching using MeSH terms, view the Library’s MeSH search tutorial or view PubMed’s Quick Tours on searching using MeSH.
Each year the National Library of Medicine considers hundreds of possible subject heading additions to use when searching PubMed. They also consider changing outdated or inaccurate terms and they delete terms that are no longer useful. Then from that year forward, articles can be indexed using those terms. There may be articles from earlier years addressing these subjects, but you can’t search them using these new MeSH terms. Prior to this year, you may have to use a broader or different term to search for indexed articles on your topic. You can always searched for these terms as a keyword in your basic search strategy.
Here are a few of the new terms that you can search this year! You’ll see that some are relatively new concepts, such as “crowdsourcing” or old concepts such as “carbonated water” that have finally reached a threshold needed to be a MeSH term.
These are just a few of the hundreds of new terms. Which of the new terms will you search regularly? Leave us a comment!
Need a little help putting together a good search strategy? Schedule a consultation with a librarian!
[Lynne M. Fox, Education Librarian]