The Medline database is an index to medical literature. It is the largest medical index but even so it only indexes about 25 percent of medical literature.
The index is organised by subject with a controlled vocabulary called MeSH (Medical Subject Headings). By using the MeSH thesaurus you are searching by a topic rather than a specific word.
Medical Subject Headings are assigned:
- for each concept or topic discussed within an article.
- using the most specific term available from the Thesaurus.
Before searching the database you need to have a clear idea of what you want to know. Formulate a question or questions and finally organise your search strategy