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The notion of ontology is introduced to information retrieval systems and an ontology-based architecture for an intelligent information retrieval system is presented. A hierarchical tree-model of a local domain ontological repository of a CAPP application system is constructed, in which DAML+OIL (DARPA agent markup language and ontology interchange language) is used to annotate in detail the syntax and semantics of concepts, their attributes and relations among concepts. Pretreatment of the local domain ontological repository and the automatic acquirement of remote information on the Internet are implemented by an information semantics-based intelligent clustering algorithm and inference rules in the architecture; the preference databases of users are managed logically according to their retrieval interests. Consequently, the system meets the requirement of intelligent information search, and further improves the efficiency and precision of information retrieval.