As alternatives to conventional metals, new plasmonic materials offer many advantages in the rapidly growing fields of plasmonics and metamaterials. These advantages include low intrinsic loss, semiconductor-based design, compatibility with standard nanofabrication processes, tunability, and others. Transparent conducting oxides such as Al:ZnO, Ga:ZnO and indium-tin-oxide (ITO) enable many high-performance metamaterial devices operating in the near-IR. Transition-metal nitrides such as TiN or ZrN can be substitutes for conventional metals in the visible frequencies. In this paper we provide the details of fabrication and characterization of these new materials and discuss their suitability for a number of metamaterial and plasmonic applications.