The users of a content repository express the semantics they have in mind while defining the content items and their properties, and forming them into a particular hierarchy. However, this valuable semantics is not formally expressed, and hence cannot be used to discover meaningful relationships among the content items in an automated way. Although the need is apparent, there are several challenges in explicating this semantics in a fully automated way: first, it is difficult to distinguish between data and the metadata in the repository and secondly, not all the metadata defined, such as the file size or encoding type, contribute to the meaning. More importantly, for the developed solution to have practical value, it must address the constraints of the content management system (CMS) industry: CMS industry cannot change their repositories in production use and they need a generic solution not limited to a specific repository architecture. In this article, we address all these challenges through a set of tools developed which first semi-automatically explicate the content repository semantics to a knowledge-base and establish semantic bridges between this backend knowledge-base and the content repository. The repository content is dynamic; to be able to maintain the content repository semantics while new content is created, the changes in the repository semantics are reflected onto the knowledge-base through the semantic bridges. The tool set is complemented with a search engine that make use of the explicated semantics. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.