In December 1947 the Army Medical Library (now the National Library of Medicine) sponsored a Symposium on Medical Subject Headings.
Participants, including Seymour Taine, Thelma Charen, and Eugene Garfield, noted that the increasing complexity of scientific literature necessitated increasingly sophisticated approaches to organization and access. The participants recognized that the issue of a subject authority was not an academic exercise. Rather, subject cataloging and the subject indexing of journal articles were acknowledged as the essence of bibliographic control. The needs of the user of scientific information was to be always at the forefront in creating a set of medical subject headings that were made equally for subject description of books and for indexing of journal articles.
This was the origin of NLM's Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), a key step in the eventual automating of the indexing and searching process for medical information that evolved into Medlars (operational in January 1964) and Medline (operational in October 1971).