Friday, April 07, 2006

Visual motifs

I am finding the visual motifs at the SWALL conference to be quite appealing. First of all, the Driskill Hotel is simply beautiful! It is a living slice of an earlier more elegant (idealized) time. But in addition to a general admiration for the fin de si├Ęcle architecture, I'm finding Texas motifs everywhere! And of course, as an incurable shutterbug, I took pictures of it all.

Texas, as the lone star state, has adoped the five-pointed star as one of its symbols. And in the Driskill, you can see those stars everywhere. They are on the lamps and chandeliers. You can see them in the upstairs carpeting and the downstirs carpeting as well. Stars are in the windows, the elevators and the inlaid marble flooring. They shine above the cafe, and in stained glass over the great reception hall.

And who has not heard of the yellow rose of Texas? While not as prevalent as stars, yellow roses also appear throughout the Driskill. They are in the carpeting outside my door, and on the lamps and the wall sconces as well. And of course, there were yellow roses to welcome us SWALL-ows to the conference.

Perhaps most amusing is the food shaped like the state of Texas. I saw the shape of Texas in a colby-jack cheese at registration on Wednesday. On Tuesday, I saw the state formed out of biscuits and chocolate dipped shortbread cookies. (Perhaps it is a good thing that my sister is wrong, and chocolate is not, in fact, destiny, else Texas would have just annexed parts of New Mexico and Oklahoma!)

I don't suppose that star or rose (or Texas-shaped cheese) spotting at the Driskill will ever catch on the way searching for Hidden Mickeys has caught on at Disneyland, but it does add an extra element to the conference. It is nice to see such attention to detail in a world that is so often filled with a 'good enough' ethos.

Lunch and legislative history

Since my laptop suddenly decided it was blind after lunch ("Wireless network? I don't see no stinkin' network!) I wasn't able to beat Terri to the punch this time. Such is life.

Anyway, Darla Agard from New Products at Westlaw did a very informative presentation of StatutesPlus and RegulationsPlus. Hearing how the West editors slaved over millions of headnotes to put in the final 250K+ headnotes in the CFR made me appreciate the sheer scope of the project.

Seeing how Westlaw does legislative and regulatory history was a nice introduction to the program presented by:
  • Kristina Niedringhaus - Arizona
  • Kathryn Fitzhugh - Arkansas
  • Alan Pannell - Colorado
  • Eileen Cohen - New Mexico
  • Kay Schlueter - Texas
The panel was moderated by Barbara Fullerton.

It was interesting to hear the similarities and differences in the approach to legislative history in the five states. All started out with "look at the annotated statute, find the session law, get the bill numbers, and away we go!" All reported varying degrees of depth and breadth of information available electronically.

The funniest was Eileen Cohen who said that there is no legislative history in New Mexico. You get the bill and that's about it.

Up tonight: reception at the Harry Ransom Center & Museum.

PS: The answer is Caddo Lake.

Health Law

I attended this morning's "Health Law Research Online: Good for You or Hazardous to Your Health?" by Beth Schneider and Spencer Simons. A tremendous number of links to a variety of health law topics. I hope they will be posting their PowerPoint on the SWALL website so I can link to it. It is a great resource for research into Medicare/Medicaid, Bioethics, Elder Law, Nursing Homes, and Health Law in general.

Austin trivia

Dina Dreifuerst here, posting under Barbara's account.

In response to Barbara's question about the streets of Austin, it is true that the downtown north-south streets are named after the rivers of Texas, in order. So the eastern-most street is Red River; the western-most, Rio Grande.

As a native Austinite, I learned that tantalizing tidbit in Texas History class :)

Of course, there is no "Congress" River in Texas!

And speaking of the second-largest employer in Austin (after UT), aka "politics," Texas' capitol building is one of the only domed state capitols in the nation, and the only one *taller* than the one in D.C.

That's Texas pride for ya!

Final bit o' trivia: here at the Driskill, we're just a few blocks from Town Lake. Town Lake, Lake Austin and Lake Travis are the three lakes in the Austin area. None are real lakes. They're dammed up sections of the Colorado River. In fact, all but one of the lakes in Texas are man-made with dams on our numerous rivers.

Librarians, start your engines! What is Texas' only natural lake?

Library Raid Jacket

For those of you who keep asking about my jacket, you can find the Library Raid series (jacket, t-shirt, cap) on It also has the daily cartoon on library life in a public library - I highly recomment it.

Raid collection Scroll toward the bottom - choose which you want to look at.



If you missed Sabrina's session on competitive intelligence, you missed a tremendous session. I felt like it was a two hour session crammed into one. You can, however, get the presentation from - and the bibliography is located here.

SWALL Business Meeting

The business meeting/breakfast/AALL Chapter Visitor meeting concluded just a few minutes ago. We had the minutes from previous meetings approved, heard that Tempe, AZ will be the 2007 site, and most excitingly, heard that the 2008 meeting will be a cruise! 2008 will be SWALL's 50th anniversary year, so the Board decided that a cruise departing from Galveston would be the best way to celebrate with food, beverages, and programs.

In other news, Amy Hale-Janake announced that New Orleans is slowly but surely coming back, and that liquor and food are definitely available. She encouraged us all to come to the 2007 AALL meeting, which will be held in New Orleans, saying we would have a fantastic time.

Lyonette Louis-Jacque, AALL Executive Board member, gave us a quick summary of what the board discussed at their recent meeting. This may be summarized as AALL is pushing for more educational and leadership initiatives, and is willing to put up the money in form of grants to make it happen.

Yvonne Chandler did her usual fine job of making a speech, giving us a run down of her mentors, and thanking us all for helping her as SWALL President for the past year. Barbara Fullerton took over the mike (in lieu of a gavel) as her transition from president-elect to president, and presented Yvonne with some fine crystal and a silver tray with SWALL President 2005-2006 engraved on it.

It's almost time for Sabrina Pacifi to present on Competitive Intelligence Report. This should be good.

Pass the coffee

Whoever invented the 7:30am breakfast meeting deserves a special place in hell. That said, welcome to Friday and SWALL's full day of conference activities. We kicked off with our business meeting. Lots of things covered. A special shout-out to Mike Beaird who was voted a lifetime membership to SWALL. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy! How many more days to retirement, Mike?

The passing of the presidential torch from Yvonne Chandler to Barbara Fullerton. Thanks, Yvonne! And good luck, Barbara!

Our speaker from AALL was Lyonette Louis-Jacques. Learned lots of new things about AALL events and activities.

And how many people out there thought Angela Kubala was kidding about the 2008 SWALL conference being on a cruise? I'm still in shock! :-O