While decision theory provides an appealing normative framework for representing rich preference structures, eliciting utility or value functions typically incurs a large cost. For many applications involving interactive systems this overhead precludes the use of formal decision-theoretic models of preference. Instead of performing elicitation in a vacuum, it would be useful if we could augment directly elicited preferences with some appropriate default information. In this paper we propose a case-based approach to alleviating the preference elicitation bottleneck. Assuming the existence of a population of users from whom we have elicited complete or incomplete preference models, we propose eliciting the preference model of a new user interactively and incrementally, using the closest existing preference models as potential defaults. A notion of closeness demands a measure of distance among preference orders, which is formally defined and investigated.