The MeSH translation maintenance system: structure, interface design, and implementation. Academic Article uri icon


  • The National Library of Medicine (NLM) produces annual editions of the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). Translations of MeSH are often done to make the vocabulary useful for non-English users. However, MeSH translators have encountered difficulties with entry vocabulary as they maintain and update their translation. Tracking MeSH changes and updating their translations in a reasonable time frame is cumbersome. NLM has developed and implemented a concept-centered vocabulary maintenance system for MeSH. This system has been extended to create an interlingual database of translations, the MeSH Translation Maintenance System (MTMS). This database allows continual updating of the translations, as well as facilitating tracking of the changes within MeSH from one year to another. The MTMS interface uses a Web-based design with multiple colors and fonts to indicate concepts needing translation or review. Concepts for which there is no exact English equivalent can be added. The system software encourages compliance with the Unicode standard in order to ensure that character sets with native alphabets and full orthography are used consistently.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004