Language and Culture Archive of Ashkenazic Jewry Digital Archive User Guide: Bluebooks

This is a guide to using the Digital Archive to the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry (

Blue Books

Blue books were the earliest documents used to transcribe the answers to the questionnaire.  The blue books were just that - Columbia University blue books designed for use in writing answers to examinations.  Several blue books were usually required to record the full set of answers from any one interview.  Although the answers were recorded in the order prescribed of the Questionnaire, there was no page break corresponding to the Questionnaire page breaks, in contrast to the approach of the later Answer Sheet forms.  Hence, one searching for answers in a blue book needs to estimate the approximate location of the question being searched, and then page through the book to find it..  This process is made easier by the fact that that the title of each individual blue book in the database indicates the series of Questionnaire page numbers it covers. Given the more informal nature of its layout and the sometimes difficult-to-read hands in which it was written, this is the most difficult of the three formats to use, but it was only used in the earliest interviews, and so will usually need to be employed only in special cases. (Note, however, that a few  of the Answer Sheets consist of photocopies of the original Blue Book pages pasted onto the standard Answer Sheet Forms, so that the users may have to grapple with the legibility, if not organization issues in that series of data as well.)