A semantic web is a web of meaning. The idea is that the way that the 'Web' is organised is an evolving and growing web of meaning.
For instance, my web site is linked to MPC, various jeep forums, sites with information about jeep, technical writing, publishing, etc.. ... essentially, all the things that I am most interested in. Now, consider a subset of the 'Web' that consists of my web site and all those sites that are linked to it. What can we learn from this semantic web? We can see that the center of the web (my site) has links to all these things I mentioned earlier and, from that, we can infer some things about me (as the owner / operator of the site). For instance, you could infer that I'm a technical writer, that I'm interested in jeeps, surfing, etc etc..
Now, expand the idea. What can we learn from the Web as a whole? Or from other subsets of the Web? What can we learn by comparing websites from NYC with those from LA? What can we learn by following the presence of certain information across the web? Who is linking to Al Jazeera?
Semantic webs: webs of meaning created by analysing the links and paths between pieces of information and their interrelation.
Quakin was referring to some of the applications of semantic webs. Search algorithms can make use of semantic web relationships by analysing not only the content of the web page (Joe's Jeep Page), but also what links to it and it links to ... for instance, if no one links to Joe's Jeep Page, but there are hundreds of links to Ultimate Jeep, the search engine would score Ultimate Jeep higher. Google uses this kind of search technique.
The search algorithm needs to be aware of the relationships ... it does not need to be self-aware. It is just an algorithm.
This is a very basic and general overview ... there is a lot of research on-going in this area. I've only talked about the relationships of links to semantic webs. There is also the concept of injecting meta-data into web pages that describe the semantic content of the page to allow better searching and interrelationships.
Excellent question, btw.
so if i liked the information you had on a certain subject i would be able to "search jipstyle for subject x" and it would show me everything jipstyle has on subject x including whatever jipstyle is connected to that has info about subject x?