The encoding of information within a document using Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) permits a novel approach to direct retrieval of data from documents. Although SGML is designed primarily for electronic interchange of texts, its features have been found to be useful in the management of data contained within a document. Encoding can include scientific and technical information, as well as associated and ancillary data, management data, and other metadata. This paper describes and gives examples of the use of the technique with special reference to chemical data. Examples of tags used in documents are shown. Retrieval of contained information is conventionally done by means of searches to retrieve a set of documents that have a probability of containing the desired information. The method described here uses a radically different approach to the information retrieval problem.