You can review the latest Business in Vancouver book reviews below, which feature contributions from UBC Library’s Jan Wallace and UBC Bookstore’s Treena Chambers.

Origins of social-networking website giant revealed

This article from Business in Vancouver August 3-9, 2010; issue 1084

The Accidental Billionaires

The founding of Facebook: a tale of sex, money, genius and betrayal

By Ben Mezrich

Anchor, 2010

Mark Zuckerberg creeps along the wall of a locked student residence at Harvard, plugs a cable into a port and hacks into the student photo database. Soon after, Facemash is born – a website where Harvard students can vote on pictures of undergraduates while Zuckerberg’s algorithm calculates the best-looking students on campus. Harvard’s version of Hot or Not begins its brief life.

Within its first two hours, Facemash had logged 22,000 votes and crashed its server – Zuckerberg’s own laptop.

The Accidental Billionaires chronicles the birth of Facebook – from its inception as a student website created by friends Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, to the runaway social-networking site that now boasts more than 500 million active users.

What magic powers does Zuckerberg possess to have imagined the awesome simplicity and appeal of Facebook? He was not alone in dreaming of a social network that would allow people to connect. But the Facemash experience showed him that people want to connect with their friends – and with a group of friends that they create and manage. The ability to create a product that goes viral so quickly and easily is an astonishing mystery, which the book delves into.

It tells the story of an era when Zuckerberg and many others were dreaming of, and trying to build, social networks such as MySpace. Zuckerberg had the good fortune to have as an early financier his friend and fellow Harvard student Saverin, who bankrolled the company, and eventual Facebook president Sean Parker, who introduced Zuckerberg to Silicon Valley.

The film based on The Accidental Billionaires is scheduled for release in October. Notably, no current Facebook executives co-operated with the book’s production. Saverin did co-operate and is thanked in the author’s note. The Accidental Billionaires is a fun but fluffy tome, perfect for a couple of hours of summertime reading. •

Jan Wallace is head of the David Lam Management Research Library at UBC’s Sauder School of Business.

Five Seconds At a Time

By Denis Shackel

HarperCollins, 2010

Most people have wondered what they would do when faced with what seems an insurmountable predicament. Would we rise to the situation or be overwhelmed? In Five Seconds at a Time Shackel shares his leadership lessons and the personal tragedy that tested all his beliefs. Five Seconds provides effective tools and strategies to excel. With a mix of survival stories, leadership principles and case studies, this book will inspire readers to believe they can achieve the impossible.

Forbes Best Business Mistakes

By Bob Sellers,

Wiley, 2010

Sharing practical lessons from their work and personal lives, some of today’s top business minds show us how they turned mistakes into successes. Jack Welch blows the top off a factory and learns how important it is to support his staff when they are at their lowest. In his university entrance interview, Mohamed El-Erian learns how important critical thought and research can be when he quotes a book that his interviewer had just critiqued. And in Forbes Best Business Mistakes, Sellers shares what he learned from revealing interviews with business leaders.

The Plundered Planet

By Paul Collier,

Oxford University Press, 2010

While acknowledging the benefits of industrialization, The Plundered Planet offers a lucid vision to address some of its consequences. Collier offers realistic and sustainable solutions to climate change. While I do not agree with all of his conclusions, the debate is one in which we all need to engage. Not everyone can marry complex economic theories with environmental romanticism, but Collier does it in a chatty, entertaining way. Calling for a bottom-up approach, he challenges us all to look for solutions to carbon emissions that respect natural resources and the remaining biodiversity of the planet. •

Treena Chambers is the marketing technology co-ordinator at the UBC Bookstore.

The article below is from the Ubyssey’s “Flashback Friday” series, in which the UBC student newspaper takes a look at “interesting, thought-provoking or just plain weird articles” published since 1918. This piece, which refers to UBC Library, is one of the first articles that appeared in the paper about the Internet.

Student access to Internet around corner—November 24, 1992, the Ubyssey

By Graham Cook

UBC will soon be full of cyberpunks interfacing virtually, if the folks at the UBC library and UBC Computing and Communications have their way. AS of 1 December, all UBC students can hook themselves into the worldwide computer network known as the Internet, through a new program called Netinfo.

The Internet is a way for people to communicate back and forth almost instantaneously, through a computer equipped with a modem or an on-campus computer hooked up to UBC’s Internet hub.

One benefit of Internet access is an electronic mail (e-mail) address. You can send and receive typed messages from anyone else in the world hooked up to the net, for almost no cost.

Professor of Chemistry and the chair of the chemistry department’s computer facilities, Elliott Burnell said access to e-mail “has been very important because you can communicate almost instantly with your colleagues around the world. You can discuss papers and other matters very quickly.”

Another Internet convert is Bill Unruh, a professor Physics who specializes is cosmology. “E-mail is how I keep in touch with my colleagues around the world…There are repositories of [academic paper] pre-prints where people send them to and you can pick them up,” Unruh said.

E-mail has also opened up a new avenue for artists to share their work. Video images created through a process called “slowscan” are digitized and shared across continents. BC artists Hank Bull and Bill Bartlett are among the pioneers of this cyber-art.

For those interested in chatting to people who share their specialized interests, there is Inernet news. Once connected you can graze through “newsgroups”, back-and-forth comments and counter-comments on everything from Turkish culture to left-wing political activism to fans’ chatter about the musical grope They Might Be Giants. Newsgroups can also have a positive benefit for research, Burnell said. “For example in chemistry, if people are using a certain type of NMR spectrometer you can have a news group set up for questions and answers about it.”

The Internet has exploded in popularity over the last year and the number of people, primarily academics, using the network has increased exponentially.

But there are problems. One is the possibility of getting lost surfing through the seemingly endless Internet waves. “If you want to subscribe to and read [the newsgroups] then it has nothing to do with your job or the actives,” providing a great excuse to avoid work, Burnell said.

There is so much to see on the ‘net that some people can spend hours and hours at a time browsing through the different newsgroups-but not with the new Netinfo service.

The service will restrict students to 20 minutes of free computing time per day. Those who want more will have to sign up for a separate account through UBC Computing and Communications, for an initial cost of $20.

Susan Mair, who is coordinating the Netinfo project, expects up to 4000 students will register for the service.

“I expect eventually most students will want to use it,” Mair said.

Students can register for a Netinfo account after 1 December by hooking up to UBC network, either by phoning 822-4477 with a modem and your own personal computer, or by connecting through a linked-up computer on campus.

Netinfo will then provide you win an email address-and an excuse to hole up with your computer for (at least) 20 minutes a day.

The recent announcement on federal funding worth $900,000 for a Chinese Canadian portal project that involves UBC Library has received ample media coverage.

Here are pieces from the Vancouver Sun, the Province and the Xinhua News Agency.

And here’s a great photo of a tour of the Chung Collection, held after the formal announcement, in Metro Vancouver – see the top of page 3.

UBC gains $900,000 federal award for unique Chinese Canadian history web portal

A bilingual website featuring the legacies of Chinese Canadians who helped shape this country will soon be a reality thanks to an ambitious project led by the University of British Columbia and a $900,000 grant from Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP).

The CHRP award was announced today by Alice Wong, Parliamentary Secretary of Multiculturalism, during a visit to UBC’s Vancouver campus to mark the beginning of a workshop for CHRP grant holders across the country. From August 10-13, workshop participants will discuss resources and strategies for collecting and preserving historical legacies, as well as ways to improve their respective projects through collaboration.

The web portal, called Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Stories from a Common Past, will launch in 2012 and provide a one-of-a-kind bilingual site with English and Chinese resources for students, researchers and others wanting to learn more about the oft-ignored Chinese experience in Canada.

The initiative includes other important innovations such as an online virtual experience, portable interactive kiosks and a searchable database of digital material created by CHRP-funded partner organizations.

“Through this project, we will ensure that all Canadians, now and into the future, have access to the work of those organizations that have completed historical recognition projects,” said Stephen Owen, UBC’s Vice President External, Legal and Community Relations. “We welcome the support of the Government of Canada toward UBC’s goals of promoting intercultural understanding and expanding knowledge through new technologies.”

“Chinese migrants came to what is now British Columbia over two centuries ago, engaging with First Nations peoples at the same moment that the first migrants from Europe arrived,” said Henry Yu, project lead and associate professor in the Dept. of History. “In other words, long before Confederation, the Chinese were part of the founding peoples of what would become Canada. This project will reshape the way all of us understand Canada, and reclaim the forgotten histories of peoples who have long been ignored in Canadian history.”

“This project stands out for its community engagement and its collaborative nature,” said Ingrid Parent, UBC’s University Librarian. “UBC Library is grateful for the CHRP funding, and proud to help lead this ambitious and necessary effort to assist researchers and students of all ages in discovering the valuable contributions of the Chinese Canadian community to our country and our culture.”

The UBC-led project emphasizes connecting younger generations to the stories of earlier generations. UBC undergraduate students will help collect, interpret and assemble materials for school programs. It follows an earlier CHRP-funded project that involved UBC students interviewing Chinese Canadian elders about their experiences during the times of the restrictive Chinese Head Tax and Chinese Immigration Act.

“Already, we have seen the life-changing transformations that can occur when a student conducts an oral history interview with one of their grandparents or an elder in their family,” said Yu. “They come to understand who they are in a whole new way, and often appreciate the sacrifices and struggles of those who came before them.”

Other project highlights include a digital archive that preserves material from partner organizations; portable kiosks that will appear in cities including Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Kamloops; and promotion of the website and digital materials for Grade 5-12 students. The site will also feature the Chinese Head Tax Register, a digital database developed at UBC that includes more than 96,000 records.

This collaborative project features a host of on- and off-campus partners, including Simon Fraser University, UBC Library units – including the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University Archives, Rare Books and Special Collections, cIRcle (UBC’s digital repository) and the Asian Library – as well as the Department of History, the Initiative for Student Teaching and Research in Chinese-Canadian Studies (INSTRCC), the Critical Thinking Consortium, the Great Northern Way Campus and the Learning Exchange. Meanwhile, the Faculty of Applied Science, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, the Museum of Anthropology and the Faculty of Arts will be involved in mobile interactive kiosk design.

For more information and sample materials, visit

Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Stories from a Common Past

The Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Histories from a Common Past web portal is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary project led by the University of British Columbia. Funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP), the project will serve as a valuable mechanism of communication and collaboration between UBC, Simon Fraser University and community partners.

For more than 200 years, migrants of Chinese heritage have traveled to Canada to live, to work, and to raise their families. Many have called a variety of places home before coming to Canada, but once here, they formed vibrant communities that have significantly shaped Canadian society.

Until now, there has never been a one-stop web portal dedicated to collecting, digital archiving, accessing and distributing information about Chinese Canadian history. The UBC-led project involves the coordination of an array of academic units that are each at the forefront of their fields. It brings together the outstanding expertise and resources of a wide range of on- and off-campus partners, including local civic institutions, and non-profit organizations. The initiative aims to create:

1. A bilingual (English and Chinese) website for Chinese Canadian history.

2. A digital archive that preserves digital material created by partner organizations funded by the CHRP in a searchable database.

3. Workshops in the summer of 2010 and 2011 that will be attended by participants from local community organizations and other organizations across Canada that are receiving CHRP funding. These workshops, along with community engagement events across the country, will also help promote the process of digital collection and preservation, and share insights gleamed from the summer workshops.

4. Promotion of Grade 5-12 classroom use of both the portal website and the digital materials through the creation of learning resources and teaching materials that will use CHRP created materials, embedding the material within a rethinking of the role of Chinese and First Nations peoples in the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway and in building Canada. The project aims to create 500 copies of teaching guides for the use of the downloadable web resources that can be accessed for free at the UBC website.

5. Virtual experiences that will appear in different forms on the portal website and within portable interactive kiosks, to be launched in early 2012.

– 30 –


Glenn Drexhage
UBC Library
Tel: 604.827.3434

Lorraine Chan
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.2644
Cell: 604.209.3048


A project involving the digitization of community newspaper photo archives appears in the Langley Advance. This project received funding from the BC History Digitization Program, an initiative that was launched by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre in 2006.

You can read the article here.

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