In this paper we present Empiricist, a prototype retrieval system in which text representation deviates from the norm. In particular, we show that IR can utilize structured representations similar to the ones used in CBR. Our texts are represented by structured complex objects. The complex object provides a rich framework for representing text content and also supports sophisticated retrieval strategies. In essence this paper makes a specific contribution to the question posed in the symposium’s call for papers: How might IR take advantage of more structured information, as used in CBR? We also discuss retrieval in the context of these complex object text representations.