No, you don't need to type references by hand; and you don't need to waste an hour every time you're trying to remember the name of that great article about object agreement in that Australian language whose name begins with k. There are many powerful tools for working with bibliographies, and the time you spend collecting references into a database pays off the moment that you need to use these references.
Organizing your references
There are many tools for managing a collection of references. The following are just a few of the better free ones:
- JabRef (any operating system that has Java installed; free)
- BibDesk (Mac; free)
- Zotero (any operating system that has Firefox installed; free)
Whatever tool you choose, it will make it much easier for you to locate the references that you need when you need them, especially if you take a few seconds to tag each reference with as many relevant keywords as you can.
Citing and formatting references
One of the nicest things about using a good tool for organizing your references is that creating the list of references for a paper becomes trivial. If you use LaTeX for your writing, and store your references in the standard BibTeX format (such as if you use JabRef or BibDesk), you get a list of references 'for free'. (see also Kai von Fintel's notes about using the BibTeX format). If you use OpenOffice or Word, Zotero can handle most of the dirty work for you.
If you're still doing it by hand, the following sites contain useful information related to formatting bibliographies: