Antigenic epitopes are the part (contact points) of an antigen involved in specific interaction with the antigen-binding site (the paratope) of an antibody or a T-cell receptor. Detailed analysis of epitopes is important both for the understanding of immunological events and for the development of more effective vaccine and diagnostic tools for various diseases. Identification and characterization of epitopes is a complex process. Although various methods have been developed in this area, there still lacks a simple common approach which can be applied to all epitopes. Since its first introduction more than a decade ago, phage display technology has made a major impact in this area of research. With the exponential growth in this area, it is impractical to review the entire literature detailing all possible applications. Instead, this review aims to focus on specific applications related to the discovery and identification of epitopes which have potential as vaccine candidates or can be used in disease diagnosis.