What is MeSH?
The abbreviation MeSH stands for Medical Subject Headings. MeSH is the thesaurus of the Medline database (PubMed). It is also used in the database SveMed+.
What is a thesaurus?
When you enter words in a database there is a risk that the authors of the articles you want to find used another term to describe their subject. Therefore, it is not certain that you will find relevant material this way.
In many databases you can use a thesaurus, a list of controlled keywords. These are the terms you should use in your search. It has been decided which word to use for a certain concept and that word is used to tag articles and other material in the databases. The keyword describes what for example an article is about, and if you use the keyword when searching the database, you should find everything within that topic.
If the database has a thesaurus you will often find it under the headings such as Thesaurus, Index, Subject, Headings and Keywords.
The names of other databases equivalent of MeSH:
Cinahl: CINAHL Headings
PsycINFO: Thesaurus (advanced search)
What is Swedish MeSH?
With the help of the Swedish MeSH, you can find the medical subject headings to use when searching databases. Here you will also get an English and Swedish translation of your keywords. Keep in mind that the Swedish MeSH is not a Swedish-English dictionary in the usual sense. The translation from Swedish to English leads to a subject term in Medline, if there is one that suits the word.
Examples from Swedish MeSH
We want to find a keyword that describe critical events that changes life. This could be expressed in many ways, for example:
Stressful life events
By searching for stressful events in the Swedish MeSH we learn that the keyword Life Change Events captures the above concepts with a single term.
MeSH in other databases
MeSH is used primarily in the PubMed database, but you can also try searching with MeSH terms in other databases. When searching in other databases, the results may in some cases be inferior when using MeSH terms, than if you use the database's own thesaurus. Other databases thesauruses are available directly in the database and is not translated to Swedish.
Children of disabled parents could be sought with the term:
Child and Parents and Disabilities
In this case you don't know if it is the children or the parents who are disabled.
If you search the Swedish MeSH for funktionshindrade föräldrar you will find the following term:
Child of Impaired Parents
Note that the keywords are not always identical in different databases. For example, in the database Cinahl you find the concept Children of impaired parents in their thesaurus.