Maclean’s magazine recently published a story on e-books that mentions a number of Canadian university libraries, including UBC Library.

You can view the article here.

Book reviews

This article from Business in Vancouver September 14-20, 2010; issue 1090

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How To Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience

By Carmine Gallo

McGraw-Hill, 2010

In spite of the title’s hype, I found this book to be full of useful advice about presenting.

Much of its message seems obvious – show your passion, tell stories to keep the audience interested, don’t fill your PowerPoint slides with too many bullet points. But how often do we refrain from showing our passion or telling stories for fear of appearing folksy or unprofessional?

Steve Jobs, legendary Apple co-founder and CEO, is famous for his charismatic announcements of new Apple products, incorporating stories, humour and messianic passion.

The best takeaway for me from this book is the way in which Gallo turns the usual method of preparing presentations inside-out.

Rather than beginning by opening presentation software, great presenters dispense with slides for most of their preparation time and use that time to conceptualize. How can your message be distilled into a powerful tagline? Why should the audience care about what you are telling it? How will your product change your listeners’ lives?

For a one-hour presentation with 30 slides, presenters should spend up to 90 hours on preparation, including 27 hours researching the topic, consulting experts, organizing ideas and sketching the shape of the presentation. Only one-third of the time is spent on creating slides. The book shows examples of Jobs’ slides, featuring almost no text, and his accompanying words.

Often, Jobs breaks from his slides to provide a live demo of his new product. There, his passion for the product and the way it will transform users’ lives blazes through without the distraction of slides.

When Jobs presented the new Apple MP3 player as “iPod. One thousand songs in your pocket,” the tagline provided headlines for media coverage around the world, allowing Apple to control how its product was portrayed.

This book is so full of useful wisdom that it should come with a checklist. Some suggestions that I particularly like are:

•sketch the broad strokes of your presentation in pictures or words before creating any slides or script;

•start out with your big idea and its tagline – why should the audience care about your topic;

•create a villain. Show the dangers that your product will prevent or fix, then reveal the conquering hero – your product; and

•describe the benefit that your product will provide to users; benefits are more captivating than features.

And don’t be afraid to demonstrate why you are so passionate about your product.

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


By Richard Girling

Transworld Publishers, 2009 (new in paperback)

Acknowledging that greed has been a catalyst for both good and “evil,” Girling offers us witty observations and wide-ranging arguments in Greed. He fixes his journalistic eye on the Olympics, the war against drugs, immigration and nationalism. He shows African aid as a disguise for First World self-interest and then turns the table and exposes the corruption and bureaucracy that burdens that continent. Despite the occasional overstatement, Greed is a good read. So buy it or borrow it.

E-Habits: What You Must Do to Optimize Your Professional Digital Presence

By Elizabeth Charnock

McGraw-Hill, 2010

After years of running a digital analytics company, Charnock packs her experience into E-Habits, laying out steps you can use to present your digital persona and help control the information about you that floats in cyberspace. With guidelines on best email practices, social networking and online shopping, E-Habits is a handbook for the digital age. The “digital me” at work changed after reading this book.

What Women Want: The Global Marketplace Turns Female Friendly

By Paco Underhill

Simon & Schuster, 2010

Who makes the buying decisions in your house? In What Women Want, Underhill warns businesses of the costs that come from ignoring the female consumer. Underhill looks at the growing importance of women in the marketplace, and argues that our preferences have become options enjoyed by everyone. So, for example, I don’t want a pink car – but I do want one that I can get my bike in and out of without breaking my back. You’re welcome.

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

UBC Library’s first Living Library event, which was held on September 22 and featured fascinating individuals who were lent out as talking “books” to users, received some great media coverage.

CBC Radio’s Early Edition previewed the Living Library, and interviewed two of the participants. You can listen to the interview here (the Living Library segment begins at about 1:03:20): audioplayer.html?clipid=1597325680

Meanwhile, the event was also featured in Metro Vancouver and the Ubyssey.

And Raul Pacheco-Vega, one of the Living Library “books,” wrote about the event and his experience on his blog, which you can view here.

You can read more about the Living Library here.

Mining for reclamation information at UBC

By Glenn Drexhage and Eugene Barsky of the UBC Library. Special to The Northern Miner

A new offering from UBC Library at the University of British Columbia enables users to access decades of valuable information on mine reclamation for free.

Each year, the British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium is presented by the B.C. Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation (TRCR).

This first symposium was held in 1977 as a response to a need in the province for enhanced government and industry communications in the area of environmental protection and reclamation associated with mining.

Proceedings of these symposia, covering not only B.C., but also Canadian and worldwide mines, are a valuable source of information on this topic. Now, thanks to a successful collaboration between UBC Library and the TRCR, all conference papers — more than 600, dating from 1977 to the present — are available for free online.

The papers are hosted by cIRcle, UBC’s digital repository, which serves as an archive of UBC’s intellectual output. They can be found and searched at

The proceedings have proven to be a big draw. For example, the most popular paper — “Water management of the Steep Rock Iron Mines at Atikokan, Ontario during construction, operations, and after mine abandonment,” found at — has been viewed and downloaded hundreds of times, mainly by users in the U.S. and Canada, but also by those from the U.K., Portugal, China, India, Finland and Norway.

This feature is a valuable resource for anyone in the mining and related industries who is involved with reclamation. Moreover, all recent UBC dissertations, including those related to mining, are available in cIRcle for free at

For more information, please contact Eugene Barsky, Science and Engineering Librarian, at

– courtesy of the Northern Miner

The latest issue of UBC Reports features an article on a community service-learning pilot program that involved various UBC units, including the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

You can view the article here, and the entire issue of UBC Reports here.

An article on changing study habits that appears in Maclean’s magazine features comments from Dean Giustini, a Reference Librarian at UBC’s Biomedical Branch Library.

You can view the article here.

A recent article in the Georgia Straight about an online exhibit dedicated to Chinese Canadian history also cites UBC Library’s recent news about a $900,000 contribution from the Community Historical Recognition Program. This funding supports an English-Chinese Web portal entitled “Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Histories from a Common Past.”

You can view the the Georgia Straight article here, and the CHRP announcement and other media coverage here.

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.

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