Adaptive reuse of archived parametric finite element analysis (FEA) models involves integration of new information into archived models to model similar new problems. Retrieval of relevant archived models and supporting documents from electronic repositories is difficult when a modeler is unable to describe information needs precisely in a query using keywords. The use of description logic (DL) concepts to describe archived models and build expandable classification hierarchies to facilitate retrieval is proposed and illustrated. A domain-independent retrieval algorithm based on the traversal of description logic concept hierarchies is introduced. The usefulness of the approach is asserted by showing that precise classifications of FEA models can be automatically computed from semantically rich representations in a fairly inexpressive DL using subsumption. The usefulness of subsumption hierarchies for efficient retrieval of FEA models illustrates the benefits of DL for their automated management.