Explaining Sources and their fields

I have been creating new sources in my RM 8. I want to set it up right the first time so that I don’t have to go back and edit them later.
I am confused about what each field is for and what should be in them. Is there some documentation that explains the fields when creating sources somewhere.

Source Name – This is obvious, it’s the title of the source that you are referring to.
Footnote = ?
Short Footnote = ?
Bibliography = ?
Source Text = ?
Source Comment = ?
Source Ref# = ?

I want to create a Source for a family diary.
Here is what I have.

Diaries of Richard M Towle 1880 – 1978
Written by Richard M Towle Sr
The diaries are location with Margaret M Towle at 123 Street Name, Denmark, ME 04022
These are the diaries written by Richard M Towle Sr. They discuss everything you could ever imagine, from what he did from day to day, to what his inner thoughts were.

Can anyone explain how my fields should look for this.

You might want to look at the RM Wiki documentation here [Adding a Source - RootsMagic Wiki]. If you want to better understand the data fields, look at this reference for more explanations on the data fields [Cite Your Sources (Source Footnotes) • FamilySearch]

Footnote is just what it sounds like. It is the citation sentence that prints at the bottom of the page for each citation. There is a 1200 page book called Evidence Explained about how such sentences should look and I’m not going to try to summarize those 1200 pages here. A citation sentence can also appear as an endnote at the end of a report instead of at the bottom of each page. The content of an endnote is identical to the content of a footnote. In any given report, you can have your citation sentences printed either as footnotes or as endnotes, but not as both.

A short footnote is a shorter version of a footnote which appears when the same footnote appears more than once on the same page. The full footnote appears the first time the footnote appears and the short footnote appears for each additional occurrence of the same citation. For true bottom of the page footnotes there are no options to combine duplicate footnotes instead of using short footnotes for the duplicates. For endnotes, duplicate footnotes can be combined and short footnotes are not needed.

A bibliography entry is much shorter than a footnote. It only identifies the collection from which evidence comes from and not the individual record, or the book from which evidence comes from and not the individual page. You can print a bibliography by itself without footnotes or endnotes. You can print a bibliography and also print footnotes or endnotes. You can print footnotes or endnotes without a bibliography.

Source text and source notes can be anything you want. Typically they would be left blank because they apply to entire collections or entire books and cannot be printed as part of reports.

You didn’t ask about Research Note and Citation Text. A Research Note might better be called a Citation Note. They can contain anything you wish. Typically, a Research Note (AKA Citation Note) might possibly contain transcription you might might make of the source and Citation Text might include any comments you might have about the transcription. There are options so that the Research Note and the Citation Text can be printed or not along with footnotes and endnotes.

A Source Reference number can be anything you want. Most typically it would be left blank. One possible use would be to record the identifiers associated with a personal filing system for your records. It cannot be printed as a part of footnotes or endnotes.

Thank you for your reply explaining this. I have been playing around with this and here is what I observed.
It seems that the only fields that are important to fill out are the Source Name, Footnote, and Source Comment.

To understand this, I think that you really need to look at examples of how they are used.

By the way, Source Name is not entirely obvious. Remember, it never prints out in a footnote and is not accessible from the template language. It is seen only by the user of RM.

Yes, I did discover this.
Source Name is what is used by RM to sort the list on Sources to Choose from.
Footnote and Source Comment is what is printed out.