We review the optical system requirements for full-text retrieval operations that utilize optical storage devices and optical pattern-matching techniques. We propose an optoelectronic full-text retrieval system (OPTORETRIEV) that includes a two-dimensional optical pattern matcher containing an optical-disk-based photorefractive joint transform correlator. We then show how this optical pattern matcher is used to perform various full-text search operations. The proposed system is a massively parallel machine taking advantage of optic's inherent parallelism. We also discuss how optics can impact the area of information retrieval. It is estimated thatthe system can perform pattern matching at a rate of over 160 Gbits/s, which is at least several orders of magnitude faster than current electronic systems. However, considerable research and development needs to be performed, especially in optical devices, before such a system could become a reality.