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Emtree, the Elsevier Life Science Thesaurus, is a hierarchically structured, controlled vocabulary. It contains nearly 89,000 biomedical preferred terms and 430,000 synonyms ordered within 14 facets (topic-specific taxonomies) including anatomy, diseases, organisms, biochemical functions, biomedical procedures, health care concepts, study types and geographical areas among others. Elsevier’s biomedical experts use Emtree for deep, full-text indexing of all journal articles in Embase,

Using Emtree, indexers can identify the correct preferred term for any concept they find in the full text of the articles they read. Users can therefore be confident in their use of Emtree preferred terms for searching.

Example: navelbine, navirel, vinbine, vinelbine, vinorelbine and vinorelbine ditartrate are alternative names for the same drug. Without indexing, all names would have to be searched to maximize retrieval. However, with the help of Emtree all records are indexed with the preferred term vinorelbine tartrate, so that comprehensive retrieval is assured using this term alone. 

Emtree vs MeSH


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