If you have a smartphone (Android or iPhone) you can scan (or type) the ISBN numbers from most books published after 1970 into the RedLaser app, email yourself the list it generates, and paste the ISBNs into Zotero, which will look up and add all of the bibliographic information from the Library of Congress catalog.
ISBN numbers are frequently displayed as a barcode on the back of a book, often in the lower right corner. The copyright page also includes an ISBN, if the book was assigned one by the publisher. Below are step-by-step instruction on how to create a list of ISBNs with RedLaser and to get the bibliographic information into Zotero for endnotes and bibliographies. For more information about Zotero see the earlier post "Endnotes Made Easy."
Doing research can be a lot of fun, but when it comes to writing proper reference citations, one can be less than enthusiastic. Good history is not credible if not accompanied by good citations. A great tool for managing reference sources is the browser plugin Zotero.
Zotero is designed to easily manage references in numerous formats including books, documents, journal articles, magazine articles, manuscripts, newspaper articles, web pages, and many more. You can create collections of references for different projects and add notes, tags, and relationships to other references in your Zotero library. You can add files, or links to files, to make it easy to locate PDFs of articles, and you can capture web pages so ephemeral web information is still accessible.
Numerous library catalogs, databases, and websites allow Zotero to populate the bibliographic data fields with just a click—no more typing! Well, almost. Not all sites talk to Zotero, but you can copy and paste information into the item records, or just type in the ISBN and the record is completed with the data from the Library of Congress catalog.
Zotero is free plugin for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari browsers on Windows, Mac, and Linux computer platforms. Plugins for Microsoft Word and LibreOffice make it easy to add correctly formatted endnotes to papers with a number of supported citation styles. You can download the Regional History Series style, based on Turabian, and add it to Zotero to better ensure your citations are correctly formatted for RHS publications.