MeSH Termbase Project

The aim of the project is to take the comprehensive medical thesaurus Medical Subject Headings as the starting point for a bilingual termbase (English and Dutch) using the GenTerm method; and to make the data available in an electronic format. Furthermore the project aims to do theoretical research into medical terminology and terminography.

Most of the research is carried out in the framework of MA dissertations. The students who contribute use a uniform record made available by the Department's Terminology Centre (see GenTerm). Research is based on primary as well as secondary sources and also involves medical informants.

In the past, the MeSH Termbase Project has also offered support to the affiliated Farma project, which focused on pharmaceutical terminology . K. Vanopstal's PhD research project into the impact of language skills and system experience on medical information retrieval was also heavily MeSH-centred (PhD defended August 2013).

Demos and screenshots

  • Example of a term record from the MeSH Termbase Project in its original Word format.
  • Example of a few records from the MeSH Termbase Project in mtw-format.
    (Download, then open in Multiterm 5.5 or lower. Not compatible with higher versions. Multiterm 5.5 is a component of Trados Freelance 5.5. Although this version of Multiterm is no longer distributed, some translators have continued to use it).
  • Example of few records from the MeSH Termbase project for use in Multiterm 2009 or higher (sdltb-format).
    (Download, unzip; open in Multiterm 2009 or higher. Not compatible with lower versions of SDL Multiterm).

Screenshot of the interface used in SDL Multiterm (sdltb-format).

Project partners

Joost Buysschaert, Klaar Vanopstal Els Lefever and +Paul Robberecht. French additions: Sonia Michiels.

Medical partner: Robert Vander Stichele, Heymans Institute of Pharmacology, Ghent University.


Non-exclusive licenses on the resulting termbase are negotiable for an annual fee, under strict conditions. Go via the contact page to request information.


  • Van de Velde, S., Macken, L., Vanneste, K., Goossens, M., Vanschoenbeek, J., Aertgeerts, B., Vanopstal, K., Vander Stichele, R. & Buysschaert, J. "Technology for large-scale translation of clinical practice guidelines: a pilot study of the performance of a hybrid human and computer-assisted approach" in JMIR Medical Informatics 3 (4) (2015).
  • Vanopstal, K., Buysschaert, J., Laureys, G. & Vander Stichele, R., "Lost in PubMed: factors influencing the success of medical information retrieval" in Expert Systems With Applications. 40(10) (2013), pp.4106-4114
  • Buysschaert, J. "Projecten medische terminologie aan de Hogeschool Gent" in Els Ruijsendaal & Cornelia Wermuth (eds.) TiNT-dag 2011. Gent, Academia Press, 2012, pp. 1-9.
  • Vanopstal, K., Vander Stichele, R., Laureys, G. & Buysschaert, J. "Causes for poor information retrieval in PubMed" in AMIA Annual Symposium, Abstracts. (2012),  pp.1981-1981
  • Vanopstal, K., Vander Stichele, R., Laureys, G. & Buysschaert, J. "PubMed searches by Dutch-speaking nursing students: the impact of language and system experience" in Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (2012).
  • Vanopstal, K., Vander Stichele, R., Laureys, G., & Buysschaert, J. "Vocabularies and retrieval tools in biomedicine: disentangling the terminological knot" in Journal of Medical Systems 35 (2010), pp. 527-543.
  • Vanopstal, K., Vander Stichele, R., Laureys, G., & Buysschaert, J. "Assessing the impact of English language skills and education level on PubMed searches by Dutch-speaking users" in N. Calzolari, et al. (eds.), Proceedings of the seventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'10). (Valletta, Malta, European Language Resources Association, 2010). [PDF]
  • Buysschaert, " J. Review of: J.J.E. van Everdingen, A.M.M. van den Eerenbeemt, S., Klazinga, J. Pols (red.): Pinkhof Geneeskundig Woordenboek, (Bohn Stafleu van Loghum, Houten, 2006) " in Neerlandia / Nederlands van nu 111(2007), N 3, pp 46-48
  • Buysschaert, J. "Exploiting an English-and-Dutch biomedical termbase: the search for an ideal format" in Equivalences 33 (2006), pp. 33-42
  • Buysschaert, J. "The development of a MeSH-based biomedical termbase at Hogeschool Gent" in P. Zweigenbaum et al., eds. LREC 2006 Satellite Workshop W08. Acquiring and representing multilingual, specialized lexicons: the case of biomedicine. (Genova, 2006), pp. 39-43.
  • Buysschaert, J. & Robberecht, P. "Enkele informatiseringsaspecten van het MeSH-Vertaalproject" in Willy Vandeweghe et al., red., Polyfonie. Opstellen voor Paul van Hauwermeiren. (Gent, Mercator Hogeschool, 2001), pp. 55-64.
  • Buysschaert, J. "Terminografie met de computer: twee voorbeelden" in J. Buysschaert (red), De computer van de Germanist. (Gent, BGG, 1996), pp 11-24