The Wikipedia defines the Semantic Web as a project that intends to create a universal medium for information exchange by putting documents with computer-processable meaning (semantics) on the World Wide Web. The core idea is to create the meta data describing the data, which will enable computers to process the meaning of things. Once computers are equipped with semantics, they will be capable of solving complex semantical optimization problems. For example, as John Markoff describes in his article, a computer will be able to instantly return relevant search results if you tell it to find a vacation on a 3K budget.In order for computers to be able to solve problems like this one, the information on the web needs to be annotated with descriptions and relationships. Basic examples of semantics consist of categorizing an object and its attributes. For example, books fall into a Books category where each object has attributes such as the author, the number of pages and the publication date. The basic example of a relationship comes from various social networks that we are part of. In one network the relationship might be a friend of, in another a family member and in another works with.There are billions of fairly unstructured HTML pages which contain no annotations and meta data. The fundamental engineering question is how can we go from today’s unstructured web to one rich with semantical information?
Read The Road to the Semantic Web from the Read/Write Web and track all things semantic as mentioned on Whats New Media. Please contribute your knowledge of the “Semantic Web” to the Whats New Media Wiki.