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We present an approach that uses domain knowledge in order to support of queries posted to an information portal. This approach enables a user to navigate through the information content incrementally and interactively. In each refinement step a user is provided with a complete but minimal set of refinements, which enables him to develop/express his information need in a step-by-step fashion. In a case study regarding searching a bibliographic database we demonstrate the benefits of using our approach in the traditional information retrieval tasks, especially the combination of the free-text based querying and the ontology-based query refinement.