How to use the Karolinska Institute MeSH resource
A thesaurus is a controlled vocabulary that is used when indexing data. Indexing is a process where an indexer assigns a number of key words to a data record (such as a reference to a journal article) in order to describe what it is about. By selecting indexing terms from a thesaurus, the indexer can ensure that the same term is always used for a certain concept. This enhances the precision of retrieval for users searching for data on a particular subject.
The MeSH® is a thesaurus that is widely used for indexing medical data. Initially developed for use in Medline, it is now used in several systems, including the library catalogue of KIB, the database SveMed+ (produced at KIB) and the link collection "Diseases and Disorders" (also produced at KIB).
The present resource is based on a translation of the MeSH that has been made by staff at KIB.
In order to take advantage of the fact that a resource is MeSH indexed, you have to find out which MeSH term corresponds most closely to the subject of your search. The MeSH tree tool at KIB can be used for this purpose. Also, it may be used as a starting point for exploring various biomedical resources on the World Wide Web.
The MeSH is a hierarchical thesaurus. This means that the terms of the vocabulary are arranged in a tree structure.
Every category of terms (e.g., anatomy, organisms etc) has its own tree. Terms with a broad coverage of the subject are placed at the root of the tree, whereas terms with a narrower scope are placed in the branches, becoming increasingly specific for each level in the tree. Each level corresponds to a MeSH number.
The MeSH tree tool at KIB allows you to browse the MeSH tree structures. Select a category at the start page, select a tree at the next page and proceed until you locate a term that corresponds to the concept you want to explore.
You may also locate a term by searching the MeSH vocabulary. Enter a term in the text input box at the start page. The English MeSH terms and their Swedish translations will be searched with automatic right truncation. You may also include alternate forms (so-called entry terms) in the search. If you want to do that, make sure that the check box under the input box is checked.
If a search that does not include the alternate forms retrieves no hits, it will be repeated automatically with the alternate forms included.
If your search retrieves too many hits, the search results are not returned. If this should happen, enter a more specific term (e.g., blood transfusion instead of blood.) You may also try repeating the search without including the alternate forms.
If there are no hits at all, it could be that you have misspelled the term you are looking for. When there are no hits, the results page contains a link to a page containing suggestions for terms that might be what you are looking for. The selection is based on the alphabetic sequence of the terms contained in the Swedish MeSH.
The hit list consists of links to pages containing more information about the terms.
Once you have located a suitable term, you may explore resources related to the concept in question. Click the grey "Links" button to bring up a list of resources.
Along with the "Links" button, there is a button allowing you to view the alternate forms of the term.
A MeSH term may appear at several locations in the MeSH tree. All the occurrences are shown. Along with each location, there is an "Expand" button. The latter button allows you to view how a term is positioned in the MeSH tree.
The database manager containing the MeSH terms and related data is Microsoft SQL server. The interface was created with Cold Fusion from Allaire.
The present resource is based on the year 2013 MeSH.
If you need a copy of the Swedish MeSH translation, please see the Licensing information.