ANSCRing the Question

March 2, 2016


This Friday, Performing Arts Librarian Charlotte Price will present a poster at the Music Library Association Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her poster is entitled “ANSCRing the Question: a hands-on approach to sound recording classification for college libraries,” and will discuss the benefits of the Alpha-Numeric System for Classification of Recordings (aka ANSCR, pronounced ‘answer’). ANSCR is a genre-based system, meaning it classifies sound recordings into 24 broad categories, such as “Electronic Music,” “Choral Music,” and “Musicals and Operettas."


A recent survey affirmed that most music libraries use an accession-based and closed-stacks system for sound recordings, which means items are organized by their accession date and are only retrievable by a librarian. Yet with CD circulation dwindling, these systems make library collections even less accessible to patrons.

Charlotte’s poster will demonstrate the benefits of open stacks and ANSCR for music libraries, and will present a roadmap for libraries interested in a similar switch. Using Sarah Lawrence College, which recently underwent an accession to ANSCR transition, as a paradigmatic example, this poster discusses the benefits to user confidence and the serendipitous discovery that can occur through user browsing. The poster also discusses the specific challenges such a change can bring. Check out the full poster here!