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Getting the Most out of PubMed Medline: MeSH

MeSH Searching

Another way to find articles PubMed is to build a search using Medical Subject Headings, or MeSH.

MeSH is the "controlled vocabulary" used by the National Library of Medicine - basically a set list of terms used to categorize and index articles.

Using MeSH terms to find articles in PubMed will expand your search skills and connect you to articles you may not have normally found.

To learn more about MeSH terms, a printed guide is available from the National Network of the Libraries of Medicine OR click the image to the right for a brief video tutorial!

Video Tutorial - Use MeSH

Navigating to MeSH

To add MeSH terms to search strategies, go directly to the MeSH Database of controlled vocabulary, or you can add MeSH terms to your searches from within PubMed.

Legacy PubMed New PubMed

Select the Resources menu, then select Literature, then select MeSH Database.

Screenshot of how to navigate from the Resources menu

Scroll down from the search box and look for the link under Explore.

Screenshot of how to go to the MeSH Database


On the Advanced search page, expand the dropdown menu "More Resources" and use the MeSH Database link.

Example screenshot


On the Advanced search page, use the search builder to select the search field MeSH Terms, then enter your search term. Toggle the Show index/Hide index link to view MeSH terms with subheadings.

Screenshot of an example


On the Advanced search page, use the search builder to select the search field MeSH Terms, then enter your search term. Toggle the Show index list/Hide index list to view MeSH terms with subheadings.

Example screenshot



Take it Up a Notch

Here are a few more resources on using MeSH terms: