We employed event-related fMRI to investigate the neural correlates of source memory. Previous studies demonstrate that conscious (explicit) memory retrieval modulates a specific network of brain regions. Lateral and medial parietal, left dorsal middle frontal gyrus and left anterior prefrontal cortex respond more for correctly recognised old than new words during old/new recognition, suggesting processes that support ‘retrieval success’. We employed a source recognition task to further investigate the functional role of this network. At study subjects studied words presented in either red or green letters. At test subjects were required to discriminate between targets (words seen in one color) and nontargets (words seen in the other color and new words). The retrieval success network was modulated by previous experience, with more activity for old than new stimuli. This modulation was related to the accuracy of source memory judgments, with greater activity for old items receiving correct than incorrect responses. The network was not modulated by the requirement to remember a particular class of old item however, exhibiting equivalent response to targets and nontargets. These findings constrain functional-anatomic accounts of the network, suggesting a correlate of a relatively obligatory or automatic retrieval process rather than a controlled or intentional retrieval process that can be focused on retrieval of information from a particular source.