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ANSCR Classification System for Sound Recordings

ANSCR stands for Alpha-Numeric System for Classification of Recordings. The ANSCR system is used to organize the Library's collection of compact discs instead of the Dewey decimal classification system. In the Library catalog, the call number for a compact disc is a series of letters and numbers in four groups. Each group is called a "term".

What an ANSCR call number looks like:

On the computer: B MOZA MF A20

On the label of the item:

B (Term 1--Type of music)
MOZA (Term 2--Composer or performer)
MF (Term 3--Title of work or album)
A20 (Term 4--Performer or Label Number)

Explanation of the four terms:

Term 1 (Type of music)

The letter or letters stands for a type of music. The letters are an attempt to group types of music together on the shelf. There is no mnemonic relationship between the letters used for the first term and the CD. If there is more than one piece of music on a CD, term 1 is selected based on the first piece on music on the CD. That is why you may find a CD with a wide variety of classical music and the call number might only apply to one small part of it.

A Music appreciation, miscellaneous (recordings with an historical focus, anthologies, biographical treatments, etc.) We put collections of wedding music here also.
B Operas
C Choral music (both sacred and secular)
D Solo vocal music with or without accompaniment (except for opera arias, in B)

Orchestral music

  • EA General orchestral music
  • EB Ballet music
  • EC Concertos
  • ES Symphonies
F Chamber music

Instrumental music (Classical)

  • GG Solo guitar
  • GO Solo organ
  • GP Solo piano
  • GS Strings other than guitar or violin
  • GV Violin
  • GW Wind instruments
  • GX Percussion instruments
H Band music
J Electronic or mechanical music (Synthesizers, music boxes, jukeboxes, etc.)
K Musicals
L Movie and television soundtracks


  • MA Miscellaneous popular music
  • MC Country music (including bluegrass)
  • MG Gospel music (contemporary Christian music, gospel, etc.)
  • MJ Jazz music
  • MR Rock, rhythm & blues, blues
P American folk music and Native American music (Zydeco, Cajun, Native American, cowboy music, Hawaiian, etc.)
Q International or World music (Both folk and pop)
R Holiday music

Spoken word

  • S Comedy
  • T Plays
  • U Poetry
  • V Prose
  • W Documentary (reenactments transcriptions of historical events, biographies, recorded interviews, etc.)
  • X Instruction (Dance, Languages, etc.)
Y Sound effects
Term 2 (Composer or Performer)

For classical music, term 2 consists of a 4-letter abbreviation for the composer's last name.

For popular music, which is mostly oriented toward performers, term 2 is usually based on the performer's last name.

Term 3 (Title of work or album)

For classical music, term 3 is based on the title of the work.

For popular music, term 3 is taken from the first initial of the first three words of the CD's title, not including articles and prepositions.

Term 4 (Performer)

If a performer is prominently featured, term 4 starts with the initial letter of the performer's last name. Otherwise, term 4 is taken from the record company's label number.