Personal information archives are emerging as a new challenge for information retrieval (IR) techniques. The user’s memory plays a greater role in retrieval from person archives than from other more traditional types of information collection (e.g. the Web), due to the large overlap of its content and individual human memory of the captured material. This paper presents a new analysis on IR of personal archives from a cognitive perspective. Some existing work on personal information management (PIM) has begun to employ human memory features into their IR systems. In our work we seek to go further, we assume that for IR in PIM system terms can be weighted not only by traditional IR methods, but also taking the user’s recall reliability into account. We aim to develop algorithms that combine factors from both the system side and the user side to achieve more effective searching. In this paper, we discuss possible applications of human memory theories for this algorithm, and present results from a pilot study and a proposed model of data structure for the HDMs achieves.