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Medical Subject Headings

controlled vocabulary for the purpose of indexing journal articles and books in the life sciences

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) is a way to keep track of for the purpose of journal articles and books in the life sciences; it can also serve as a thesaurus that makes searching easier. Created and updated by the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), it is used by the MEDLINE/PubMed article database and by NLM's catalog of book holdings.

MeSH was introduced in 1963. The yearly printed version was discontinued in 2007 and MeSH is now available online only.[1] It can be browsed and downloaded free of charge through PubMed. Originally in English, MeSH has been translated into numerous other languages and allows retrieval of documents from different languages.


  1. "Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) Fact sheet". National Library of Medicine. 2005-05-27. Retrieved 2007-05-31.