Major retrieval issues on conventional online database search systems faced by novice researchers are identified and described. An ontology-based search framework is proposed. The framework consists of five elements: (1) user, (2) query, (3) query interface, (4) search process, and (5) result. The query interface is designed based on the ontology hierarchical structure in the ontology datastore and is represented as keywords/sub-keywords structures in the query interface. Ontology enables relationships between keywords and terms to be defined. Ontology allows desired information to be retrieved by sharing common vocabularies with an understanding of meaning of terms in the domain. A prototype system is developed based on the design science methodology selected to guide the system development. The system will process the search query once the query is sent. The search process will look for the matched documents and return results to the user. The results that are returned to the users will be reviewed and users have the option to repeat the process if the results do not fulfil the query made. The system development takes into account problems identification in the database search environment and motivation in improving and extending current limitations.