Searching PubMed with Medical Subject Headings


In this video, I’m going to show you how to
do a Medical Subject Heading search in PubMed. The first thing you must do in order to utilize
the Medical Subject Headings is access the MeSH database, which from the front page of
PubMed can be done in one of two ways. The first way is to come down here to More
Resources and click on the link for the MeSH database. But the more preferable way, and the second
way, is to come up here to the gray bar and come over here to the drop-down menu and drop it
down until it says MeSH. When you do this, you’re now ready to access
the MeSH database. And all you now need to do is type in a term
that you’re interested in searching for, such as Obesity. Now when I put Obesity in here, unlike when
you do a keyword search, what it’s going to search in the MeSH database is the controlled
vocabulary that’s used in PubMed. Now what we’re going to see are not articles
but a list of words that are relevant to the term that you’ve put in the box. In this case what you’ll notice is, as it
returns them in relevancy order Obesity is at the top because we typed Obesity in the
box, but there are other options here that may or may not be useful depending upon the
search you’re doing. Now if you want to access or you want to choose
Obesity, all you need to do is check the box, add it to the search builder, and then hit
Search PubMed. What you’ll notice when you do this is, you
now have a set of articles in which obesity is discussed, and it’s being searched as a
Medical Subject Heading. Now if you would like to see how obesity is
related to the intake of soda pop you can do the exact same thing as you did before. You can come up here to the gray bar, drop
this down until it says MeSH, put Soda Pop in the box, and go back to searching the MeSH
database for the appropriate term for soda pop. What you’ll notice in this case is, it doesn’t
return Soda Pop but returns Carbonated Beverage. The reason this is, is because when it comes
to Medical Subject Headings one term may stand for several terms. In other words they are what are called entry
terms. All of these that you see in this list here
are what are called entry terms, meaning if any of them are being discussed, or being
discussed in the article, they’re all going to be classified under Carbonated Beverages. And since you see Soda Pop here, that is why
Carbonated Beverage is showing up. Now if I want to select Carbonated Beverage
to search, since I know that’s what it’s talking about in fact is soda pop and other ways of
discussing or describing sodas, is I can come over here and hit Add to Search Builder. Again you’ll notice it says, “Carbonated beverage,”
and it says, “MeSH,” and I can click on Search PubMed. Once I do this, I now have a set of articles
in which carbonated beverage is a Medical Subject Heading. Now once I have this before me, I now want
to make a relationship between carbonated beverages and obesity. I can do that by clicking on Advanced because,
as you know, clicking on Advanced will show me my search history. Now you’ll notice, here’s my search history,
and the way I can put them together is to click on Add. I put the Add here, so you’ll now see line
nine and ten are now in my search builder. Then I can come over here and select And,
Or, or Not. In other words, try to make a relationship
between them. Remember And, Or, and Not are called Boolean
operators. In this case I want there to be a direct relationship
so I’m going to select And. And I can click Search which will directly
take me out to PubMed and show me the articles or I can click Add to History and just have
it run the search and add a line to my search history. Now remember, if you want to access this from
your search history, all you have to do is click on the Items Found and say, in this
case 205, it will now show you that we have 205 articles in which obesity and carbonated
beverage in this case are related to each other and so all of these articles in some
way are talking about soda pop or some derivative of that and obesity. Now if I want to see the abstract of these,
remember you come up here to Display Settings, drop this down, click on Abstract, and then
hit Apply. When you do that, you’ll now be able to see
the abstract when it’s available. But the most important thing is, not only
can you see the abstract, but it’s only in the abstract display setting that you can
see this Get It At VCU button which will connect you with our electronic resources. And if we don’t have it electronically, it’ll
also let you know whether or not we have it on the shelf. And if we don’t have it at all, it’ll also
allow you to go ahead and request it through interlibrary loan, which as a faculty, staff,
or student, is free to you. And that is how you do a Medical Subject Heading
search in PubMed.

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