Here is a list of links which explain, in increasing levels of sophistication, an initiative which is attempting to make sense of the glut of information on the web.
The plan is to make it so computer programs can make logical assumptions and relationships between resources on the Web based on the semantics of their content. It is referred to as the Semantic Web.
The links that follow provide a gentle, if not brief, introduction to this initiative.
First, there’s an audio interview with Tim Berners-Lee which isn’t strictly about the Semantic Web, but it’s an easy listen and gets some key concepts across:
Interview with Tim Berner-Lee
Next, Scientific American has a somewhat long but engaging piece explaining the Semantic Web in lay terms:
NPR: Scientific American: The Semantic Web
The incomparable Peter Moreville has a very readable account of his peering into the bubble of Social Network Analysis which has a set of “See Also” links which are enough to keep the average person busy into the next millennia.
Semantic Studios: Social Network Analysis
and Discover Mag Online has a lay persons look at software which makes similar inferences based on your Email inbox:
Discover: Emerging Technology: Who Loves Ya, Baby?
On the software front, a company called Creo has a product called “Six Degrees” which promises to semantically link files on your desktop in a meaningful way.
Finally, Big Blue has a couple article on using this stuff to unite and network your chain of friends – kind of “six degrees of separation” concept.
There’s got to be something after that, but I’m not sure what. FOAF-Naut is about the graphically coolest thing I’ve seen. Requires the Adobe SVG plug-in though. Might be fun to improve in Flash.
After that it leaves the ground rather abruptly, so if you want to dive in the deep end (if that’s not a train wreck of metaphors) then pop over to:
The WWW Consortium is the holder of the official Semantic Web torch:
W3C: The Semantic Web
is the home of lots of Friend of a Friend (FOAF) information
has many interesting links around this stuff