Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date

Spring 5-2014

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Medical Library Association Annual Meeting

Conference Location

Chicago, IL


Plant-based foods are foods of the future. With millennials being called "the foodie generation," and foodie guru Michael Pollan saying "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants," it’s clear that plant-based foods will have surging popularity in the near future. In this poster we'll examine how well PubMed works for finding research articles on plant-based foods. The indexing of Food-Diet-Nutrition subjects in MeSH is complicated and inconsistent. Relevant terms tend to be scattered in different parts of the "tree structure," making it hard to know what categories to include in searching. This is especially a problem for plant-based foods: a large proportion of these are not in the Food explosion, but are only in Plants, and not in Food. These, of course, will not be retrieved by searching for “Food.” Adding to the complexity is that the three main categories of plant-based foods in MeSH - fruit, vegetables and spices - are treated differently in MeSH. We'll examine these groups carefully, to determine patterns of how different plant-based foods are treated.


finding research on plant-based foods, PubMed indexing problems, searching for nutrition citations


© Eric Rumsey, Janna C. Lawrence, and Jennifer DeBerg, 2014.