Semantic Web

"The Semantic Web is a vision: the idea of having data on the Web defined and linked in a way that it can be used by machines not just for display purposes, but for automation, integration and reuse of data across various applications. In order to make this vision a reality for the Web, supporting standards, technologies and policies must be designed to enable machines to make more sense of the Web, with the result of making the Web more useful for humans."
International Semantic Web Working Symposium (SWWS)
"A new form of Web content that is meaningful to computers will unleash a revolution of new possibilities."

Introductory Information

"The Semantic Web", Scientific American article - print version

By Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler & Ora Lassila
A new form of Web content that is meaningful to computers will unleash a revolution of new possibilities.
"The Semantic Web", Scientific American - RealAudio version

By Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler & Ora Lassila
"Integrating Applications on the Semantic Web"

By James Hendler, Tim Berners-Lee and Eric Miller
"The Semantic Web: An Introduction"

By Sean B. Palmer
"Business Model for the Semantic Web"

By Tim Berners-Lee
It addresses that oft-asked question, "So how is the semantic web going to affect me?"

More Detailed Information

"The Semantic Web: from Concept to Percept"

By Ying Ding, Dieter Fensel & Hans-Georg Stork
Introduction to the Semantic Web: some of its main ideas and application domains with an emphasis on e-business and e-commerce.
"XML Conference 2000: Berners-Lee and the Semantic Web Vision" - streaming video

In a keynote session at XML 2000 Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the Wide Web Consortium, outlined his vision for the Semantic Web. In one of his most complete public expositions of the vision to date, he explained the layered architecture that he foresees being developed in the next ten years. [Slides used during presentation.]
Web Architecture: Describing and Exchanging Data

By Tim Berners-Lee, Dan Connolly, & Ralph R. Swick
The Semantic Web is a Web that includes documents, or portions of documents, describing explicit relationships between things and containing semantic information intended for automated processing by our machines.
Ontoprise B2B White Paper

Without comment on the value of the specific piece of software referenced, this document provides an excellent summary of data exchange issues.
Agents and the Semantic Web

By James Hendler
Provides a description on how ontologies (data dictionaries) will evolve.
Towards the Semantic Web

By Jeff Heflin
Pages 15-26 provide an accessible explanation of the background, history and impetus (e.g., XML's limitations) for the Semantic Web.

The Details

The Semantic Web in Breadth

By Aaron Swartz
An attempt to break the Semantic Web into its component parts and provide a summary of each part.
A Minimalist Survival Guide to XML and RDF

Intended for those unfamiliar with XML and Resource Description Framework (RDF). It contains only enough information to enable you to read the annotated DAML+OIL markup.
RDF Primer

Resource Description Framework (RDF) provides a common framework for expressing information in such a way that it can be exchanged between applications without loss of meaning. The Primer is designed to provide the reader the basic fundamentals required to effectively use RDF.

Other Links

W3C: World Wide Web Consortium - Semantic Web

"The Semantic Web is an extension of the current web in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation." -- Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler, Ora Lassila 
SemanticWeb.org

W3C: World Wide Web Consortium - Web Services

"The World Wide Web is more and more used for application to application communication. The programmatic interfaces made available are referred to as Web services."