Getting Better Results with MedLine

Medline's thesaurus and subject lists

Medline has a thesaurus that yields MeSH subject terms. Medline does not include an author name index, but you may search by an author's name and add topics to the search, such as Doudna in the author field and Crispr in 'all text'.

It is a good idea to check to see that you are using the best terms for your topic. The thesaurus also lists variations on terminology-- main subject terms are larger in scope; subheadings are more precise and more limited.

The screens may look different in the different versions of the database, but the terminology is standard across all of them. 

illustration of the MeSH tree, with main headings and subheadings to choose from

More about MeSH

The MeSH database provides:

 • A searchable list of the vocabulary used for indexing Medline and PubMed articles, along with term definitions and scope

• Suggested older or superceded terms to use for searching earlier years of PubMed or Medline

• Suggested related MeSH terms

• The “MeSH Tree Structures”, a conceptual grouping of terms which enables the searcher to easily find broader or more specific terms. Choose the most specific term you can find.

• As you select your terms using the MeSH thesaurus, you will also be able to select subheadings to make your search more specific. 

Adapted from PubMed Search at Brown University https://library.brown.edu/libweb/PubMedSearchGuide.pdf

Some other resources