A BBC article describes two recent studies about the formation of episodic memories and the role of the hippocampus.
The first study published this week recorded the activity of single cells at the moment an association was formed between two unrelated pictures – one of a person and another of a place, such as Clint Eastwood and the Statue of Liberty. This represents what goes on when an episodic memory is formed. The researchers found strong neural connections formed within a few trials and were witnessing the formation of an episodic memory.
The second study also published this week showed how the hippocampus acts as a librarian in a vast library of facts/memories. The facts are stored all over your brain. At encoding the links between such facts are stored in the hippocampus. Retrieval involves activity in the hippocampus (the librarian), where the the location of elements are stored so they can be retrieved.