The semantic web
was proclaimed to be the next evolution in the Web by its creator, Tim Berners-Lee; the idea is for a
smart Web, where the information would no longer be stored but
understood by computers so as to provide the user with what he is actually looking for. According to Tim Berners-Lee's definition, the semantic Web, unlike the current Web which is seen as a syntactic Web, would enable semantic content to be provided from Web resources interpretable not only by humans but also by the machine.
Today, only human beings can use the "information highways" as they alone are able to understand what they find and decide whether this is the answer to what they are looking for. They are helped in this task by search engines which, while highly sophisticated, nevertheless have their limits, and most of the time can only answer two questions: "Which pages contain the term X?" and "What are the most popular pages on the subject of Y?".
But the semantic Web attempts to arrange for the tools used by human beings not just to display results, but to automate the queries and integrate and re-use the data in various applications. The goal is to transform the unmanageable mass of Web pages into a giant hierarchical index.