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A Music Librarian’s Guide to Creating Videos and Podcasts: Author Interview

If you have been attending MLA business meetings (and you should! They’re open to all MLA members!), then you have probably seen the wonderfully creative videos by Katie Buehner and Andrew Justice. Katie and Andrew’s new book, titled A Music Librarian’s Guide to Creating Videos and Podcasts, is part of the MLA Technical Reports series published by A-R Editions. In their book, they share their experiences so that others can produce video and audio content for music libraries. They kindly accepted my request for an interview.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

Katie: Librarians love the idea of making videos, but it can be difficult to negotiate all the working parts of a video project if you’ve never made one before (or sometimes, even if you have). I wanted music librarians to have a resource that would provide a practical overview of online videos paired with a production guide that could be applied broadly across operating systems, softwares, and budgets. I also love making online videos and I would like to see more libraries producing video content.

Andrew: Working at the University of North Texas, I had access to an insane amount of audio content and a functioning sound preservation studio — with the advent of widespread podcasting in the second half of the 2000s,  it didn’t take long to realize we had a great opportunity. As the technological and software curves wended their way toward affordability and ease of use for the podcast creator, it was natural that an introduction to the basics be available for music librarians to take advantage of the content and tools available to them.

Q: What is one section in the book that you would like people to pay attention to and why?

K: Seven tips for making great online videos, on page seven. Number six is especially important – “be ready to fail, repeat processes, and take criticism.” I’ve found making videos to be fraught with trial and error, which can be discouraging if you expect everything to work seamlessly and nothing to go awry. Making videos takes persistence and a bit of improvisation, because things will not always go according to plan. It also takes humility, so that when someone provides constructive feedback that exposes problems, you’re willing to listen and discuss solutions. Andrew reviews my videos in progress often, and his suggestions increase the quality and effectiveness of any video at least ten percent.

A: Since the fundamental steps of recording and editing audio are much easier to master than video (my opinion, but many sound preservationists hold the same sentiment), I would emphasize the planning of podcast content: overall theme, selection of works, informational and/or interview sections, “branding” of opening and closing portions, etc. Like with writing, good podcasts and videos are mapped out well, taking into consideration tone, length, goal(s), and entertainment (or at least keeping one’s audience engaged). Katie and I have always worked well together in the iterative process of creation and production — ideas are refined, shaped, intensified by each of us giving honest feedback to each other, and that is probably one of the most important aspects for either of these platforms being successful.

Q: Are you guys going to make any more videos for MLA?

K: Probably. I think my favorite to date is still the Dallas 2012 invite video. (Lisa’s note: mine too! You can see the video here:

A: Nearly every year, I get a “good” idea for the invite — usually in connection to a song about the city — so I would be more than happy to do another one. Returning to Cincinnati and/or St. Louis seem like excellent opportunities.

Thanks again, Katie and Andrew! You can find out more information about the book at