Welcome to Semantic Review, home of information on the Semantic Web.
The "semantic web" is a term used to describe an evolution of the existing world wide web where not only information but semantics (contextual meaning) are defined making it possible for machines to understand meaning and satisfy requests. Basically, the semantic web lets machines talk to each more efficiently and do more work for people.
Currently the word wide web is designed so that a person can
but the web doesn't yet have a standard way of allowing a machine to log on, read and understand what a given web page means without a human pre-programming that machine to look for certain criteria. Wouldn't it be nice if we were able to just give our machine agent a small set of things to look for on the web and then they simply deliver the results? This would be possible if information on the web was described in such a way that it's semantic are communicated.
Right now the web is controlled by applications on individual computers: email programs, calendar programs, search engines, custom databases, etc. and all these applications keep data to themselves (they don't speak the same language) - an email server doesn't necessarily share data with a calendar program and Google doesn't share it's index with Yahoo!.
What if all these applications were connected, not by wires or physical means, but by being about the same thing: speaking the same semantic language, it would allow a machine to traverse form point to point intelligently collecting information.