January 30, 2007 [posted]
Last year, the National Library of Medicine® (NLM®) proposed to consolidate the 83 existing qualifiers (subheadings) in the Medical Subject Headings and create a smaller set. The goal was to make the use of qualifiers easier for the searching public. NLM distributed a background paper within the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, whose members also posted it on a number of widely seen listservs. At the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting in 2006, Dr. Stuart Nelson, Head of Medical Subject Headings, and those in attendance had a lively dialogue on the proposed changes.
Over the intervening months, NLM staff analyzed all comments, suggestions, and feedback. We considered the potential impact on the searching public, Network libraries, and the internal processes at NLM. Ultimately, in part due to budget constraints and limited resources, NLM has made the decision to retain the qualifiers in their present form. We hope to concentrate our efforts on other ways to improve searching and retrieval for all users. We greatly appreciate the many thoughtful comments received, and thank all those who provided input.
Labels: MeSH, NLM Technical Bulletins, Taxonomy