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This paper presents a new approach to palmprint retrieval for personal identification. Three key issues in image retrieval are considered: feature extraction, similarity measurement and fast search for the best match of the queried image in an image database. We propose a texture-based approach for palmprint feature representation. The concept of texture energy is introduced to define both global and local features of a palmprint, which are characterized with high convergence of inner-palm similarities and good dispersion of inter-palm discrimination. The searching is carried out in a layered fashion: the global features are first used to guide the fast selection of a small set of similar candidates from the database and then the local features are applied to determine the final output from the selected set of similar candidates. The experimental results illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.