Using information fairly and acknowledging sources accurately is an essential part of any research project. Citations provide information to help readers locate the sources you use and provide a way for you to credit other scholars for their original ideas or findings. Most researchers use style guides or manuals to format their citations in a consistent way so their readers can quickly identify and locate cited sources.
Annotated bibliographies help to organize and summarize your research on a topic, which can help motivate you to write. An annotated bibliography includes a citation and a brief statement of its argument or purpose in your words. You can also include how you would use the source in your research.
There are three general types of resources that may appear in an annotated bibliography. Primary sources provide your first-hand evidence. Secondary sources include analysis or commentary on a primary source. Tertiary sources are summaries or compilations of primary and secondary sources. For example, if you were writing a paper about James Baldwin, a primary source would be anything written by James Baldwin, a secondary source would be articles and books analyzing James Baldwin's writings, and a tertiary source would be an encyclopedia entry about James Baldwin. An annotated bibliography is a type of tertiary source.
Citation management tools are programs that collect records or citations from research databases (indexes, catalogs, etc.) that you can then organize for your research projects. They also help you cite your research by creating bibliographies, citations, and footnotes automatically.
Zotero is extremely easy to learn. Watch this brief archived webinar to get started with the Zotero software.