BIREME Bulletin n° 53

What are the DeCS/MeSH terms in your text? BIREME finds them for you!

As part of the celebration of DeCS’s 35 years, BIREME launches an innovative service for researchers, editors, and librarians in the health sciences field, the DeCS/MeSH finder.

Available since February 9th, this service, which works online, locates any descriptor, synonym, or qualifier of the DeCS/MeSH-controlled vocabulary of a given text in a fraction of seconds. It works as follows: the user copies the text in which they want to find the DeCS/MeSH terms; they paste the copied text in the location indicated on the website; and they proceed to instantly obtain the list of located terms.decsfinder1_enIn the 15 days since its launch, the service has been used by more than 3,200 users from 45 countries, who have searched for DeCS/MeSH terms in their texts more than 5,500 times. The 10 countries that most used the DeCS/MeSH finder during this period are Brazil, the United States, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Ecuador, and Portugal.

Motivated by the needs of researchers during the process of writing and submitting scientific articles, of editors who review the manuscripts submitted to journals, and of information science professionals who work in the indexing processes of health content, BIREME invested in the development of this service. That is, through the DeCS/MeSH Finder:

  • the researcher can use the service to assist in choosing keywords that describe the content of their article;
  • the editor of scientific journals can use the service to assist in the process of checking the relevance of the indicated keywords to describe the article’s content; and
  • the indexing librarian can use the service to assist in the indexing process.

It is very easy and intuitive to use the DeCS/MeSH Finder because the service has two modes of use: the simple and the advanced version.

decsfinder2_enThe simple version of the DeCS/MeSH Finder guides the novice user through a four-step help mechanism:

  1. Identify the language of the text in which you wish to locate the DeCS/MeSH terms;
  2. Provide the text to be used in the process of finding these terms, through the simple process of copy and paste;
  3. Determine the language of the terms that will be located (Portuguese, Spanish, French, or English); and
  4. Decide whether to use advanced filters to identify the terms.

decsfinder3_enWhen the user completes the four steps described above, they will instantaneously see their text with markings that identify the DeCS/MeSH terms found, as well as a list of these terms in alphabetical order.

decsfinder4_enThrough the DeCS/MeSH Finder, BIREME will also offer technical cooperation with institutions that wish to identify health sciences descriptors in their documents, websites, or databases. Interested parties can contact the BIREME team.

New features and improvements will be developed in the near future, making it even easier to use this service, such as allowing access to the details of the located terms that are available on the DeCS/MeSH website, making it possible to inform the URL of a document (internet address) for automatic extraction of the text and location of the terms, a new way of viewing the user’s text with the markings of the terms found and much more.

About DeCS/MeSH

DeCS plays a fundamental role in the management and access to information and knowledge in Health Sciences. Produced by BIREME/PAHO/WHO, it is a controlled vocabulary organized in a hierarchical manner and derived from the thesaurus Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), produced by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM). DeCS is the translation and extension of the MeSH in Spanish and Portuguese, which now also includes the translation into French, updated annually, used to index, search, and retrieve the technical and scientific literature available in the information sources of the Virtual Library at Health (VHL).

In addition to the NLM, which conducts annual updates, BIREME/PAHO/WHO counts on the following partners to support the development and updating of DeCS/MeSH:

  • Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad de Chile for the translation of concepts to American Spanish;
  • Instituto de Salud Carlos III for the translation of concepts to European Spanish;
  • Institut National de la SantĂ© et de Recherche MĂ©dicale, INSERM, which provides the translation of MeSH concepts into French;
  • L‘UniversitĂ© de Rouen, Normandie, for the translation into French of concepts in DeCS-exclusive categories

DeCS/MeSH, as a common language in health sciences, is used by information science professionals in the process of indexing documents in the main bibliographic databases available in the VHL, becoming the tool that guides indexers, allowing them to choose the most appropriate terms that represent the documents’ topics. At the same time, DeCS/MeSH is the instrument that facilitates the search, dissemination of, and access to technical-scientific production in health for all users.


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