This paper discusses progress on the development of IR_Framework an extensible object oriented framework for information retrieval currently under development at the University of Huddersfield. When completed, IR_Framework will include the data structures and algorithms required to support the development of any information retrieval system in which it is necessary to store, automatically index and retrieve objects on the basis of their text content. A primary objective of the research is to make the framework as extensible as possible so that the information retrieval functionality can be extended to the specific requirements of a wide range of applications. We are therefore fully exploiting the benefits of working in an object oriented development environment. The paper includes a brief review of earlier information retrieval research on which the current work is based; describes the object oriented design of IR_Framework; discusses the way in which IR_Framework has been used in the development of a reference management system called Papers; and discusses the way in which IR_Framework will be further developed to support both teaching and further research.