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Online Resources: Medical Subject Headings

Learn about the library's online resources: what types of sources they contain, search strategies, and unique features.

Medical Subject Headings - MeSH & CINAHL

What is a controlled vocabulary? A controlled vocabulary is a set of selected words or phrases that are used to aid in the search of organization, and therefore the ability to search and retrieve information. Synonyms and words that could be spelled different ways are often redirected to the 'authorized' term, assuring that search results are accurate. Controlled vocabularies are often hierarchical in structure. Meaning the authorized word can often be linked to broader or narrower search terms. Basically using a controlled vocabulary helps you to be precise in your search. Example.....

What is MeSH? MeSH is the controlled vocabulary thesaurus of the NLM (the National Library of Medicine). The NLM uses MeSH to index the articles found in the MEDLINE and PubMed databases. It is also used in the descriptions of items cataloged by the NLM such as books, documents, and images. Since the NLM covers all areas or medical and health care using MeSH terms in your search can be very helpful.

CINAHL headings are based on MeSH but with additional headings added.

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