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Medical Subject Headings

MeSH Browser

The MeSH Browser is an online vocabulary look-up aid available for use with MeSH® (Medical Subject Headings). It is designed to help quickly locate descriptors of possible interest and to show the hierarchy in which descriptors of interest appear. Virtually complete MeSH records are available, including the scope notes, annotations, entry vocabulary, history notes, allowable qualifiers, etc. The browser does not link directly to any MEDLINE or other database retrieval system and thus is not a substitute for the PUBMED system.

The MeSH Browser points to the newest version of MeSH and so it will also find new Supplementary Concepts as these are added and updated weekly.

The MeSH Browser may be used to find descriptors, qualifiers, or Supplementary Concepts of interest and see these in relationship to other concepts. The browser is part of the MeSH Web pages. It finds descriptors of interest without assuming knowledge of the often-complex vocabulary structure and rules. For example, if you enter male neoplasms as a search, the Browser will display a list of related descriptors including:

Breast Neoplasms, Male (a MeSH descriptor)
Genital Neoplasms, Male (a MeSH descriptor)
Male Breast Neoplasms (an entry term to MeSH)
Male Genital Neoplasms (an entry term to MeSH)

The look-up can be restricted or limited with any of the following:

  • Main Headings
  • Qualifiers
  • Supplementary Concepts
  • All of the Above

Searching for names of chemicals and other Supplementary Concepts (non-descriptors and non-qualifiers) can be limited to any of the following fields:

  • Heading Mapped To (HM) (Supplementary List)
  • Indexing Information (II) (Supplementary List)
  • Pharmacological Action (PA)
  • CAS Registry/EC Number/UNII Code (RN)
  • Related Registry Number (RR)

When a single descriptor has been selected, the complete record can then be displayed. Fields or elements within the descriptor are linked to additional sources such as related Indexing Manual sections, definitions and other similar information.

Neoplasms [C04]        
Neoplasms by Site [C04.588]        
  Abdominal Neoplasms [C04.588.033] +      
  Anal Gland Neoplasms [C04.588.083]      
  Bone Neoplasms [C04.588.149] +      
arrow pointing to current tree node Breast Neoplasms [C04.588.180]      
    Breast Neoplasms, Male [C04.588.180.260]    
    Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast [C04.588.180.390]    
    Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome [C04.588.180.483]    
    Inflammatory Breast Neoplasms [C04.588.180.576]    
  Digestive System Neoplasms [C04.588.274] +      

Concept Views

In Descriptors and Supplementary Concept Records (SCRs), after a MeSH record has been retrieved in the Browser, you have the additional option of viewing the "Concept Structure" of the record as it exists in XML MeSH (see Files available to download):

Standard View. Go to Concept View; Go to Expanded Concept View

The basic idea is to group synonymous terms into concepts. See Concept Structure in XML MeSH. The Standard Concept View provides the minimum concept structure, with terms and scope notes. The Expanded Concept View provides additional concept and term attributes, such as Concept UI, Semantic Type, and Lexical Tag. Definitions of these attributes are given in the list of XML MeSH Data Elements, where the "MeSH Browser" label is given for every applicable element.

For additional information, contact:
Stuart Nelson, M.D., Head
Medical Subject Headings
(301) 496-1495 (voice)
(301) 402-2002 (fax)

Send MeSH vocabulary suggestions.

To MeSH Browser