Tens of millions of short peptides can be easily surveyed for tight binding to an antibody, receptor or other binding protein using an "epitope library." The library is a vast mixture of filamentous phage clones, each displaying one peptide sequence on the virion surface. The survey is accomplished by using the binding protein to affinity-purify phage that display tight-binding peptides and propagating the purified phage in Escherichia coli. The amino acid sequences of the peptides displayed on the phage are then determined by sequencing the corresponding coding region in the viral DNA's. Potential applications of the epitope library include investigation of the specificity of antibodies and discovery of mimetic drug candidates.