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PubMed - an Introduction

An introduction to and guide for using PubMed - from basic research queries to in depth, personalized information discovery.

About Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Use MeSH to:

  • Identify appropriate terms
  • Confirm definitions
  • Search by a subject
  • Build a search strategy
  • Apply subheadings
  • Focus search results
  • Limit or expand retrieval

Example: Search the word "nursing" in PubMed and your results will vary between the profession and breastfeeding. Using the apporpriate MeSH term will eliminate this confusion:

"Nursing [MeSH]" = The field of nursing care concerned with the promotion, maintenance, and restoration of health.

"Breast Feeding [MeSH]" = The nursing of an infant at the breast.  

Note: Searching with only MeSH terms excludes the most current citations in process and publisher-supplied citations as they are not indexed with MeSH.