A recently conducted survey affirmed that a majority of music libraries use an accession-based and closed-stacks system for sound recordings. Yet with CD circulation dwindling, these systems make our collections even less accessible to patrons. This poster will demonstrate the benefits of a genre-based classification system and open stacks for music libraries, and present a roadmap for those interested in a similar switch.

Using the example of an accession-to-ANSCR migration at Sarah Lawrence College (SLC), a small liberal arts school in New York, this poster discusses the benefits to user confidence, serendipitous discovery, and challenges such a change can bring. Former SLC Music Librarian Charlotte Price has been researching ANSCR and library sound recording classification systems for the past few years, with the culmination of this poster presentation for the Music Library Association’s 2016 annual conference, as well as working on an in-process article.


  • Hansen, Linda L. ANSCR Supplement, 1988. Professional Media Service Corporation, 1988.
  • McKnight, Mark. Music Classification Systems. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press and the Music Library Association, 2002. Print.
  • Saheb-Ettaba, Caroline. ANSCR; the Alpha-Numeric System for Classification of Recordings. Williamsport, Pa: Bro-Dart Pub. Co, 1969. Print.
  • Weber, Lynne, and Jessica Schomberg. “Access Plus Security.” Music Reference Services Quarterly 9.2 (2005): 49–54. Taylor and Francis. Web.
ANSCRing the question: a hands-on approach to sound recording classification for college libraries

Full poster presented at MLA 2016 Cincinnati by Charlotte Price