PURPOSE: Rehabilitation research information can be obtained from various bibliographic sources. Nevertheless, search strategies and terminologies differ from one database to another making it challenging for the novice user or users of multiple databases. This paper discusses a novel approach of using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) codes to retrieve rehabilitation research information. METHOD: A crosswalk was created by mapping the Center for International Rehabilitation Research and Information Exchange's (CIRRIE) subject headings to the two-level ICF codes and a search interface was developed (available at: http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/icf/crosswalk.php) so that users can input ICF codes instead of conventional subject headings. RESULTS: About 62% of all CIRRIE subject headings were mapped to equivalent ICF codes. Among the CIRRIE subject heading that were mapped, 43% were mapped to the Environmental Factors, followed by 34% mapped to the Activities and Participation component of the ICF. CONCLUSION: Although the ICF was not conceived or developed as a system of formal terminology, it can be used effectively for information retrieval in conjunction with an existing vocabulary. This paper describes the first attempt in implementing the use of ICF for information retrieval.