MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) Turns 50! Exciting!

For anyone who has ever done a PubMed search, this is an auspicious occasion. The ability to have a successful search, indeed, to find the elusive “everything” on a subject often depends on the controlled vocabulary of terms, in this case MeSH-Medical Subject Headings. National Library of Medicine (NLM) librarians and other health science librarians have been adding and fine tuning these terms since 1960.

Back in the day we librarians would wait with bated breath for something like the newly identified Acquired Immunodeficiney Syndrome to be added to the lexicon. Whenever a new clinical or health science entity, from SARS to stem cells, from a new drug resistant strain of tuberculosis to public health issues with cell phones becomes a reality, NLM is there updating MeSH terms, reflecting the indexing and searching protocols of literature searching.

As of 2010, MeSH contains more than 25,00 subject headings, with 83 subheadings. For more information on the history of MeSh, please see NLM’s Celebrating MeSH: 50 years of Medical Subject Headings. And to hear more about the impact of MeSH on database searching- participate in this Anniversary event.

The Ebling librarians stand ready to help you fine tune your searches with a one-on-one tutorial or a drop in workshop.