The internet had become a major source of information in many knowledge domains. The general public uses Google predominantly to obtain in-formation pertaining to a variety of knowledge domains. Generally, users will have different access to, and understanding of, the results they obtain from their ‘Google’ search. As Google is not built to separate authoritative from dubious in-formation sources, users may have to rely on specialized search engines.
The large volume of published information that is being accounted for is an additional problem that complicates the search. For example, biomedical re-searchers may use PubMed which is a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that includes over 16 million citations from life science journals for biomedical articles going back to the 1950s. Using the PubMed search engine, the user receives a list of journals related to the given keyword. It is then left to the user to read each journal individually and to try to establish links within this information. This would be easy if the journal list consisted of a small number of journals. But the journal list usually consists of thousands of journals, and medical researchers usually do not have time to go through these results thoroughly. There is a high chance that some important information will be omitted.
There is a need to design an intelligent search engine that performs searches not only on keywords, but also on the meaning of the information. The search engine would go through the available information, understand this information, and select highly relevant information; moreover, it would link this information and present it in a meaningful format to the users.
In this chapter, we will briefly introduce the technologies underpinning such meaningful representation of information and the use of an intelligent and supportive retrieval approach. We examine current issues related to information representation, information access and information retrieval on the web. We will introduce the meaning of web semantics and the role of ontologies and agent tech-nologies in the creation of semantically rich environments.