NLM backs down on subheadings

This tech bulletin came out yesterday. Sometime last year there had been a move on NLM’s part to pare down the subheadings in the MeSH vocabulary. Their self-stated goal was “to make the use of qualifiers easier for the searching public,” who use PubMed. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time and it still doesn’t. They’ve backed down on this so it’s a moot point.

However, my educated guess is that the searching public wouldn’t know a MeSH term much less a subheading if it walked up and punched them in their collective faces.

Librarians and the people they train or instruct search with the MeSH. I would bet money that most non-medical users are doing keyword searches like they do in Google. The proposed list of changes would have made our jobs harder and I don’t think they would have helped the public much. Glad to see sanity has prevailed.

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One response to “NLM backs down on subheadings

  1. Just wanted to mention a free (web2.0ish?) medical dictionary visualization tool we developed:Visual Medical DictionaryIt goes beyond regular dictionaries by displaying an ontology context tree (MeSH based) and interactive network graph of related drugs, diseases and therapies.For example: a search for “psoriasis” will show a strong relationship with “Cyclosporine” and “Phototherapy” among other drugs and therapies.Please check it out if you get a chance.(sorry for the blatant pr)

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