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Phone: 306-966-7209
Fax: 306-966-6040
Email:darlene.fichter@usask.ca

Murray Library
University of Saskatchewan
3 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
S7N 5A4



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Darlene Fichter's Home Page


I am a librarian at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

My current projects include developing a mobile QRcode campus tour, social media strategy, web site redesign, and archiving electronic government documents.

I'm particularly interested in user experience, design and emerging technologies.


I will be presenting at the upcoming Computers in Libraries 2013 conference.

[image of bullet] Some Past Presentations

Internet Librarian 2011 - Monterey California October 17-19, 2011

Analyzing Website Usage With Google Analytics. Workshop October 15, 2011 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Presenters: Darlene Fichter and Jeff Wisniewski

This interactive workshop introduces Google Analytics, a powerful, easy-to-use, and free website usage measurement tool. Participants learn how to set up, collect, monitor, and intelligently analyze their website usage data to better understand their users and their sites. Users will leave the session ready to implement Google Analytics on their library sites and make use of its powerful visualizations to make informed decisions about site structure and content.

Web Managers Academy 3.0: Seamless Websites & Expanded Presence. Workshop October 16, 2011 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Presenters: Darlene Fichter, Jeff Wisniewski, Marshall Breeding, Frank Cervone

User expectations of what a good website is and does are higher than ever. Users expect high-quality information and services to be available to them whenever and wherever they are, be it via their desktop, mobile device, or via social media channels. Administrators are increasingly seeking both qualitative and quantitative data from libraries to justify expenditures and focus. How can library web managers satisfy all of these demands? This workshop explores ways to take your website to the next level, turning it from a menu that leads users into a disjointed set of content repositories and services to a unified service delivery platform which creates, deploys, and repurposes high-impact content and uses analytics to identify .friction points. on any website and in social media channels. Learn to deliver content and services to users beyond the library website through other channels such as mobile and social media. Get tips, techniques, and strategies to help create a seamless and "frictionless" web experience. Learn to create, deliver, and repurpose high-impact content. Know how to evaluate and measure the strengths and weaknesses of your website and social media and be prepared to positively face off with both users and stakeholders!

QR Codes in Action. Panel Presentation. October 17, 2011 11:15 AM - 12:00 PM

Presenters: Tim Donahue, Jason A. Clark, Danielle Kane, Alison Steinberg, Darlene Fichter, Cheryl Avery

Engage, entertain, and enrich your community with local history photographs and snippets of information by developing mobile tours that connect places and things to collections. This panel shares their QR code secrets for promoting, browsing, and connecting; mobilizing stacks; and more.



[image of bullet] Articles

From Perceptions to Strategies Darlene Fichter and Jeff Wisniewski

Social Media Metrics: Making the Case for Making the Effort Darlene Fichter with Jeff Wisniewski Online Magazine.[$]

Tune It Up, Don’t Tear it Down: Website Redesigns - September/October 2008, Darlene Fichter with Jeff Wisniewski Online Magazine.[$]

Microformats and the Search for Meaning - July/August 2008, Darlene Fichter with Jeff Wisniewski Online Magazine.[$]

Net Sightings & World Wide Wonders: Data 2.0-What Happens When You Combine Data and Social Media? Darlene Fichter, ACMLA Bulletin, 131 (Winter): 41 - 45.

Wiki While You Work - May/June 2008, Darlene Fichter with Jeff Wisniewski Online Magazine.[$]

Put the “Service” in Self-Service - January/February 2008, Darlene Fichter with Jeff Wisniewski Online Magazine.[$]

Saying It Visually - November/December 2007, Jeff Wisniewski and Darlene Fichter Online Magazine.[$]

Top Tips to Build Blog Readership - September/October 2007 Darlene Fichter Online Magazine.[$]

More articles >>


[image of bullet]Presentation Archive

Special Library Association ClickU Webinar

How Social is Your Web Site - May 7, 2009

Presenters: Darlene Fichter, University of Saskatchewan Library and Jeff Wisniewski, University of Pittsburgh

Social media is a way for libraries to encourage, promote, innovate, learn, adapt, improve customer service, market library services, and to discover and deliver what users want. With all these benefits it's no wonder that libraries of all types and sizes are exploring the social media landscape. This information packed session will provide practical advice, tools, tips, and tricks on easy ways to optimize your website for this new social environment. Find out how other libraries are using social media to promote libraries and engage with users. Are you ready for the social?

Computers in Libraries: March 30 - April 1, 2009 Crystal City, VA

W2 – Web Managers Academy: Redesign 2.0, March 29, 9:00 AM . 4:30 PM

Darlene Fichter, Data Library Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan
Frank Cervone, Director, Library, Information, and Media Studies Program, Chicago State University
Jeff Wisniewski, Web Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh
Marshall Breeding, Director for Innovative Technologies and Research, Vanderbilt University

Does your library website need to move to the next level? Consider how to do a visual makeover, add social media tools, or new embedded services. Where do you start? What’s your strategy? See how other libraries are using content management systems (CMS), user generated content, and database-driven content to provide customized and personalized user content. Explore how social software applications, including blogs, wikis, tagging, and RSS, fit in the mix. Learn how to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your current site using analytic tools and usability studies. Pick up new usability methods that can help you test proposed revisions early so that the new design doesn’t just look better but also works better for the users. Pack your toolbox and take home tips, tools, checklists, and new design techniques that you can immediately put to use. Learn about common pitfalls and success factors for library redesigns. Put what you learn into practice. By working in small groups, you will immediately apply what you learn throughout the day to an ongoing “extreme makeover of a library website.” Topics and exercises include the redesign process; practical project management; web content management systems; usability, engagement, and participation.

40-Plus New Tools & Gadgets for Library Webmasters, March 30 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Darlene Fichter, Data Library Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan
Frank Cervone, Director of Library, Information, and Media Studies, Chicago State University

They’re back and their toolbox is bursting with new, useful, and fun tools to delight web visitors and webmasters. Our experts and popular speakers tour through free or inexpensive tools that save you time or pain or both as a web content provider, developer, or manager. Best of all, many of the tools can be used by anyone regardless of his/her tech know-how. As always, we’ll sprinkle in a few more advanced tools for webmasters who love to code.

Harnessing New Data Visualization Tools: Say It Visually - 1/2 day workshop April 2 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Darlene Fichter, Data Library Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan
Jeff Wisniewski, Web Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh

All around us, mountains of data are piling up in libraries and corporate intranets, but are we harnessing visual techniques and tools to make this data more useful? Can we use the many data visualization tools available to benefit library websites, customer products and services, instruction and course pages? Discover how tools such as Many Eyes from IBM’s alphworks, Swivel, Gapminder (bought by Google), and others can enable your staff and users to share, analyze, and create data visualization to show trends, patterns, associations and new insights. Some of these tools go way beyond data visualization and tap into the social dimension, encouraging sharing, collaboration, and reuse. Bring a Wi-Fi enabled laptop and try out some of the tools. Don’t have a laptop? No worries: Simply have fun working with other participants in the small group exercises. Keen to try out the water? Work with our data or BYOD (Bring Your Own Data) as a spreadsheet or text file of usage data or user comments. Create your visualization and tell your library’s story visually. Look at what happens when data goes “social”and when libraries leverage the visual to explain, inform, and aid discovery and retrieval.

Social Media Optimization & Metrics: How Social Is Your Website? - 1/2 day workshop April 2 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Darlene Fichter, Data Library Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan
Jeff Wisniewski, Web Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh

Social media is a way for libraries to encourage, promote, innovate, learn, adapt, improve customer service, engage library users in new ways, deliver new content and services, and to discover and deliver what users want. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder libraries of all types and sizes are exploring the social media landscape and using blogs, twitter, Facebook, MySpace, tagging, and more. This workshop is packed with practical advice, tools, tips, and tricks on easy ways to optimize your website for this new social environment. Whether your library is small or big, this workshop guides you through steps to develop a social media plan and ways to choose the best social media for your particular goals. It looks at ways to define and measure your libraries’ success with social media efforts and reviews tools and practical, easy to implement methods for evaluating social media plans. Head back to your workplace with a draft social media plan for your library and also with some ways to evaluate your plan.

Internet Librarian 2008: Beyond 2.0: User-Focused Tools & Practices - October 20-22, 2008 Monterey, CA

Web Managers Academy: Redesign 2.0, October 28, 9:00 AM . 4:30 PM

Darlene Fichter, Data Library Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan
Frank Cervone, Director, Library, Information, and Media Studies Program, Chicago State University
Jeff Wisniewski, Web Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh
Marshall Breeding, Director for Innovative Technologies and Research, Vanderbilt University

Does your library website need to move to the next level? Does it need a visual makeover, social media tools, or new embedded services? Where do you start? One place to begin is by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your current site using analytic tools. Pick up new usability methods that can help you test proposed revisions early so that the new design doesn.t just .look. better but also works better for the users. See how other libraries are using content management systems, user-generated content, database-driven content, federated search, and OpenURL resolvers to provide customized and personalized user content. Explore how social software applications including blogs, wikis, tagging, and RSS, fit in the mix. Pack your toolbox and take home tips, tools, checklists, and new design techniques that you can immediately put to use. Learn about common pitfalls and success factors for library redesigns. Topics and exercises include the redesign process; practical project management; web content management systems; usability and ethnographic methods: affinity mapping, photo reports, and map diaries.

Cool Tools for Library Webmasters, October 20, 2007

Darlene Fichter, University of Saskatchewan Library
Frank Cervone, Director, Library, Information, and Media Studies Program, Chicago State University

Hop on board and look at some great tools that can help make your life easier and delight or even wow your visitors. Our experts and popular speakers are back with a whole new roster of free or inexpensive tools covering the gamut of Web 2.0 gadgets and widgets, hosted applications, server side scripts, and desktop tools. They highlight tools for people who are just starting out as well as some advanced applications for webmasters who like to dig their teeth into a bit of code. Pick up some new tool ideas that can take your site to the next level.

Passion, Participation, & Digital Projects, October 20, 1:15 PM . 2:00 PM

Darlene Fichter, Data Library Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan

This session focuses on the new learnings and new ways of working based on the experience of an aboriginal digital project. It includes discussions of Lucene/Solr faceted browse implementation, seven institutional partner collections, aboriginal community advisors/consultations, grad students who wrote interpretive essays/exhibits, 3D video of artifacts, digital rescue of museum vintage AV recordings, and more.


Information Visualization Tools - October 22 2:45 PM – 3:30 PM

Darlene Fichter, Data Library Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan
Jeff Wisniewski, Web Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh

From library catalogs to mind maps to visual search engines join us as we tour some of the best, most interesting, most useful, or just plain coolest visualization tools out there. One of the most important trends to emerge from the Web 2.0 phenomenon is the advent of visualization tools that can illuminate, reveal, and shine a bright light on otherwise complex, dense, or dare we say boring data and text. Explore how these tools offer unique ways to visualize information patterns, facilitate information discovery and navigation, and reveal hidden concepts. Find the sweet spots for these new visualization tools for libraries, including how library users responded when the library catalog went "visual" with AquaBrowser.

Special Library Association Click U Live!

Best Practices for Setting up Wikis September 11, 2008 2:00 - 3:30 pm EST

Are you using the best tool for collaborating and sharing information? Are your existing tools cumbersome for sharing files, annotating them, supporting editorial discussions, and managing archiving and version control? Is there a lot of redundant effort? Is there a better way? Many organizations are turning to wikis to support communication, collaboration and shared knowledge bases for staff and work teams. Do you have just-in-time information that you need a way to track and share? Find out how wikis can help you deal with just-in-time information. The flexible nature of wikis makes them a great tool for creating instant intranets or web sites, team areas, or library/IT documentation areas. Find out about best practices for rolling out a wiki.

Education Institute Webcast

Cool Tools for Library Webmasters - Darlene Fichter and Frank Cervone - September 23, 2008

Hop on board and look at some great tools that can help make your life easier and delight or even wow your visitors. Our experts and popular speakers at Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian conferences are sharing a whole roster of free or inexpensive tools covering the gamut of Web 2.0 gadgets and widgets, hosted applications, server side scripts, and desktop tools for Education Institute attendees. They highlight tools for people who are just starting out as well as some advanced applications for Webmasters who like to dig their teeth into a bit of code. Pick up some new tool ideas that can take your site to the next level.

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries/L'Association canadienne des bibliothčques de droit (CALL/ACBD) Conference, May 25-28, 2008 Saskatoon, SK

Law Libraries Reaching for the Sky: Practical Applications of Web 2.0 Technology

In the blink of the eye, the information landscape that we work in has changed profoundly from information scarcity to information abundance, from mediated services to self service, from print to digital, from serving baby boomers to millennials. We all know change is happening and have taken time to explore online sites like YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and others, but what does this mean for info pros? What is just hype or entertainment value and what is actually transforming the way legal professionals work or want to work if they could? What should we be doing as information professionals to provide services today and tomorrow? If the sky is the limit, what should we pay attention to and be doing now?

[ Slides on slideshare.net ]

Computers in Libraries, Washington DC April 7-9, 2008

Widgets, Tools, & Doodads for Library Webmasters April 7, 3:15 PM – 4:00 PM

Darlene Fichter, Data Library Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan
Frank Cervone, Assistant University Librarian for Information Tec, Northwestern University

[ Slides on slideshare.net ]

Hop on board and look at some great tools that can help make your life easier and delight your visitors. Our experts and popular speakers are back with a whole new roster of free or inexpensive tools covering the gamut of Web 2.0 gadgets and widgets, hosted applications, server side scripts, and desktop tools. They highlight tools for people who are just starting out as well as some advanced applications for webmasters who like to dig their teeth into a bit of code.

Session B204 – Harnessing New Data Visualization Tools, April 8, 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM

[ Slides on slideshare.net ]

Mountains of data are piling up in libraries and corporate intranets, but how do we say it visually and make data more useful? Fichter looks at new online tools that enable sharing, analysis, and data visualization to show trends, associations and new insights on your library website that quickly engage, inform, and empower your customers to create their own visualizations. Tools such as Many Eyes go beyond the data visualization and tap into the social dimension encouraging sharing, collaboration, and reuse. Fichter talks about what happens when data goes “social.” From visual dictionaries, textual analysis of works of fiction, to star size and nutritional components of Big Macs, hop on board for this fast-paced look at an amazing set of tools that are at your fingertips.

Web Managers Academy: Redesign 2.0 April 6, 2008 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. FULL DAY

Darlene Fichter, Data Library Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan
Frank Cervone, Assistant University Librarian for Information Technology, Northwestern University
Jeff Wisniewski, Web Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh
Marshall Breeding, Director, Innovative Technologies and Research, Vanderbilt University

Does your library website need to move to the next level? Does it need a visual makeover, social media tools, or new embedded services? Where do you start? One place to begin is by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your current site using analytic tools. Pick up new usability methods that can help you test proposed revisions early so that the new design doesnt just "look" better, but also works better for the users. See how other libraries are using content management systems, user-generated content, database-driven content, federated search, and OpenURL resolvers to provide customized and personalized user content. Explore how social software applications including blogs, wikis, tagging, and RSS, fit in the mix. Pack your toolbox and take home tips, tools, checklists, and new design techniques that you can immediately put to use. Learn about common pitfalls and success factors for library redesigns. Topics and exercises include: Redesign process; Practical project management; Web content management systems; Usability and ethnographic methods: affinity mapping, photo reports, and map diaries.

Yellowhead Regional Library's Public Library Conference, Edmonton AB November 23, 2007

Why Design Matters

Is your web site up to snuff? How your web site looks is a critical factor in how users experience your site. Is your site credible, trustworthy and memorable? As the web has evolved, so has web design. This session will focus on practical tips and tricks gleaned from recent studies that can help you improve your web site.

Internet Librarian 2007: 2.0: INFO PROS, LIBRARY COMMUNITIES, & WEB TOOLS - October 29-31, 2007 Monterey, CA

Cool Tools for Library Webmasters, October 29, 2007

Darlene Fichter, University of Saskatchewan Library
Frank Cervone, Assistant University Librarian for Information Technology, Northwestern University

[ Slides on slideshare.net ]

New tools help library Webmasters get their jobs done faster, easier, and better than ever before! Experienced Webmasters share their top picks from the past year covering the gamut of Web 2.0 gadgets and widgets, hosted applications, server side scripts, and desktop tools. They highlight tools for people who are just starting out as well as some advanced applications for Webmasters who like to dig their teeth into a bit of code. The audience is invited to join in and ask for ideas as well as share their own picks.

Mashups & Data Visualizations: New Breed of Web Applications, October 31, 10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

[ Slides on slideshare.net ]

Web 2.0 is opening the doors to tools and toolkits for do-it-yourself (DIY) programming that requires no knowledge about programming. Find out what mashups are and how libraries are making use of them to create rich, new information services and content. Look at some of the intriguing and robust new data visualization tools, such as IBM’s alphworks, swivel, gapminder (bought by Google), etc. that can put the power of spreadsheets online for everyone in your organization to present their information as tag clouds, bar and pie charts, bubble maps, and more. Learn new tricks from this presentation.

Web Managers Academy: Survival Guide for Library Web Site Redesigns October 28, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. FULL DAY

Darlene Fichter, Data Library Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan
Frank Cervone,Assistant University Librarian for Information Technology, Northwestern University
Jeff Wisniewski, Web Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh
Marshall Breeding,Director, Innovative Technologies and Research, Vanderbilt University

Does your library Web site need a redesign? What are the signs? Where do you start? One place to begin is analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your current site. Learn how to use Web site analytic tools to discover how the current site is used. Pick up new usability methods that can help you test proposed revisions early so that the new design doesn’t just “look” better, but also “works better” for the users. See how other libraries are using content management systems, database-driven content, federated search, and OpenURL resolvers to provide customized and personalized content for users. Explore how social software applications including blogs, wikis, tagging, and RSS, fit in the mix. Pack your toolbox and take home tips, tools, checklists, and new design techniques that you can immediately put to use. Learn about common pitfalls and success factors for library redesigns. Topics will include:

  • Redesign process
  • Practical project management
  • Web content management systems
  • Usability and ethnographic methods: affinity mapping, photo reports, and map diaries

Saskatchewan Library Association Conference - May 3-5, 2007 Saskatoon, SK

Digitization 101 Workshop: Planning and Managing a Successful Digital Project, May 3, 2007 1:00 - 4:30 p.m.

This workshop will be of special interest to anyone considering digitization of their collections or embarking on a digitization project. Get practical advice on planning digital projects from start to finish. Learn about best practices for metadata. Find out about OAI harvesting and how to ensure your digital collection is well utilized. Connect the dots between planning, metadata standards, staffing and implementation in a case study of a successful digital project site.

Presenters: The workshop presenters have expertise on a wide variety of digital projects and all of them are from Saskatchewan libraries and archives:

  • Carol Hixson, University Librarian, Dr. John Archer Library, University of Regina Libraries,
  • David Bindle, Metadata Librarian, University of Saskatchewan Library,
  • Tim Hutchinson, University Archivist, University of Saskatchewan, and
  • Darlene Fichter, Head, Indigenous Studies Portal, University of Saskatchewan Library. Location: University of Saskatchewan

Computers in Libraries - April 16-18, 2007

Web Managers Academy: Survival Guide for Library Web Site Redesigns - April 15, 2007 pre-conference

Cool Tools & Toolkits for Webmasters - Monday April 16, 2007

Jeff Wisniewski, Web Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh Darlene Fichter, Head, Indigenous Studies Portal, University of Saskatchewan
Frank Cervone, Assistant University Librarian for Information
Technology, Northwestern University

This session reviews excellent free toolkits from Google, Yahoo!, and Mozilla to help Webmasters do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Learn about how people are or are not finding your site, how to quickly and effectively test the accessibility of your pages, and how aligned your site is with accepted usability heuristics. From Google’s new Webmaster Tools to Firefox’s accessibility plug-ins to Yahoo!’s pattern library, get a tour of these effective free tools that together can help you take your site to the next level.

What’s a Mashup & Why Would I Want One? - Tuesday April 17, 2007

[ PowerPoint Slides ] (9.3 MB)

A “mashup” mixes content from independent sources to create something new. Many mashups are simple to create and require little technical know-how, allowing Webmasters of all sorts to put on their creative thinking cap. Jump on board and take a tour of interesting mashups, including library mashups, and explore the opportunities for libraries and how to remix library and other content to create new and innovative services. Take away tools that you can use to build mashups, for users or yourself, and recommended sites to learn more.

Education Institute

Wikis and Libraries: Staff and User Opportunities - April 3, 2007

What's a wiki and why would you want one? Does your organization need a better way to collect and share knowledge that many of your co-workers have only in their heads, squirreled away in e-mails, file folders or personal computer accounts, jotted on sticky notes or documented in outdated procedure manuals?

Would you like have a simpler system for publishing and sharing knowledge in a timely fashion that anyone could contribute to regardless of their technical knowledge? Do you need to collaborate with colleagues and/or users to create new information resources and knowledge bases? If so a wiki may be the tool that you've been looking for.

Find out what wikis are and see how libraries are using them internally with staff and externally with library patrons. Pop open the hood of a wiki and peer inside to learn about its features and capabilities. Pick up some best practices for rolling out a wiki in a library setting.

SIRSI Dynix Institute - March 6, 2007 11:00 am Eastern - FREE Web Seminar

Mashups : A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

This presentation will be available in 3 to 4 days in the SirsiDynix Archive.

What's a mashup and why would I want one? Whether you're a reference librarian, library trainer, a library webmaster or teacher-librarian knowing about this new breed of web application is important. A "mashup" mixes content from independent sources to create something new. Many mashups are simple to create and require little technical know-how, allowing library staff and library users of all sorts to wave a magic wand and create something new. Jump on board and take a tour of interesting mashups, including some library examples, and explore the opportunities for libraries to remix library and other data sources to create new and innovative services. Take away tools that you can learn about and build mashups, for users or yourself, and recommended sites to learn more. Jump start your thinking on the new Web 2.0 ecosystem that relies on symbiotic relationships and communities rather than "monolithic systems" or the "kindness of strangers".

Ontario Library Association Super Conference - January 31-February 3, 2007

Practical Usability Research Tips: Getting Users to their Target Content

Learn about five types of navigational pages that improve user success and how to build them. See examples of the pages and walk through sites and collectively analyze the techniques in action. New research on designing for the scent of information has clearly identified three indicators of when a site design will fail. Learn to spot these indicators on your own site and pinpoint when users lose scent. Take away ideas away new design ideas that can make your site work better for your users.

PowerPoint Slides

Wikis & Libraries: Staff and User Opportunities

What's a wiki and why would you want one? Do you need to share knowledge better, find an easier way to publish information or collaborate better with colleagues? If so a wiki may be the tool that you've been looking for. Find out what wikis are and see how libraries are using them internally with staff and externally with library patrons. Pop open the hood of a wiki and peer inside to learn about its features and capabilities. Pick up some best practices for rolling out a wiki in a library setting.

PowerPoint Slides


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