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Tracy Shields @tcshields
, 12 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
Since a few #medlibs asked... I've dug up some of my favorite examples of bad / wtf MeSH indexing, along with a few of my go-to searches to show how automatic term mapping (ATM) in #PubMed can do unexpected things.

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"The importance of good images in using hair to screen for breast cancer" (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11333872) has been indexed with "Magic"[Mesh]. I'm guessing it's because the next letter, on page 2 of pdf, has the title "Science or Black Magic?" #medlibs

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/P…
I mentioned this one during the #medlibs chat: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21640057

MeSH fun includes being indexed with "Telepathy"[Majr]. I assume based on context it should maybe have been "Telepathology"[Mesh]. But also... did you know there is a Mesh term for telepathy?
This example is what I used when I was involved in training new #medlibs on MeSH and searching: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22309235

It is poorly indexed in general, but includes "MEDLINE/statistics and numerical data"[Mesh] because... MEDLINE is mentioned as a place they searched, I guess?
But we can't blame our search results on poor indexing alone. The MeSH terms themselves can be iffy, and ATM going on behind the scenes - does anyone other than #medlibs even know about that? - works against you.
#medlibs: so you did a search for nursing

PubMed search: nursing
PubMed:
"nursing"[Subheading] OR "nursing"[All Fields] OR "nursing"[MeSH Terms] OR "nursing"[All Fields] OR "breast feeding"[MeSH Terms] OR ("breast"[All Fields] AND "feeding"[All Fields]) OR "breast feeding"[All Fields]

#medlibs: I wanted nursing the career, not breastfeeding.
Want to know if you should be taking antibiotics before hip replacement surgery to prevent infection? Okay, #medlibs let's try:

prophylactic antibiotics hip replacement

And PubMed does... well, um... this:

(I just know there's a joke here about Trojan horses)
Want lit on data from the military health system? Let's try:

military health system data repository

PubMed says: Hope you don't mind looking in the journal 'Brown University Digest of Addiction Theory and Application' and a focus on veterans instead of active duty, #medlibs
#medlibs protip: This is why you should specify fields for some terms, especially if you know it's going to give back weirdness. Also why the term itself matters, as does if you used singular versus plural, and the order you put the terms in. All of it affects ATM.
One last #medlibs protip: Do you or your patrons know about "FORMAT: Summary (text)" ? This is a hidden gem of PubMed. Change the default format from summary to that (and sort by first author to get alphabetized, if you really want fancy) and you will get the perfect citation:
"Summary (text)" one of my favorite things to share in training or instructional sessions, because it is guaranteed to wake up people, get audible comments like "whaaaa?" and "omg do that again!" and even happy clapping. Enough to warm even the coldest #medlibs heart.
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