DeCS (Health Sciences Descriptors) is a trilingual and structured vocabulary created by BIREME to serve as a unique language in indexing articles from scientific journals, books, conference proceedings, technical reports, and other types of materials, as well as for searching and retrieving subjects from scientific literature from information sources available on the Virtual Health Library (VHL) such as LILACS, MEDLINE, among others.

It was developed from the MeSH – Medical Subject Headings of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

DeCS is part of the LILACS Methodology and is an integrating component of the Virtual Health Library. DeCS participates in the unified terminology development project, UMLS – Unified Medical Language System of the NLM, with the responsibility of contributing with the terms in Portuguese and Spanish.

The concepts that characterize the DeCS vocabulary are organized in a tree structure allowing a search on broader or narrower terms or on all terms from the same tree within the hierarchical structure.

Besides the MeSH terms, DeCS also includes terminology in specific areas such as Public Health, Homeopathy, Science and Health, and Health Surveillance in addition to the original MeSH terms.

The training data set lists the DeCs codes assigned to a record in the source data. Since the original XML data contain descriptors (no codes), we provide a DeCs conversion table with:

  • DeCs code
  • Preferred descriptor (the label used in the European DeCs 2019 set)
  • List of synonyms (the descriptors and synonyms from both European and Latin Spanish DeCs 2019 data sets, separated by pipes)

For more information check BioASQ Spanish Track.