New Search Tool: The Yale MeSH Analyzer

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms are designed to take the guesswork out of literature searching by using a single term to describe a subject. Nevertheless, identifying the appropriate MeSH term for your topic can sometimes be tricky when searching in Medline via Ovid or via PubMed.

However, if you already have relevant articles on your topic, looking at how they are indexed (which MeSH terms are used) can be a great place to start. The Yale MeSH Analyzer facilitates this process by generating an easy-to-read grid of MeSH terms from key articles you have already identified.

To use the tool, paste a list of up to 20 PMIDs (Unique identifier numbers used in PubMed) into the text box and click on “Go”. The MeSH Analyzer will retrieve the article metadata (subject headings, author keywords, etc.) from PubMed, and present it in either HTML or Excel format. Scanning the created grid will help you quickly identify appropriate MeSH terms for your search. It can also help understand why some articles are retrieved from a search and others are not.

Need help? Whether you need a few references on a topic or a more in-depth search of the literature, MUHC librarians are available to perform quality searches for you.

Contact your hospital librarian for more information on our literature searching service. A full calendar of workshops is also available to help you develop your searching skills.

Published September 19, 2016.