Currently, computers are changing from single, isolated devices into entry points to a worldwide network of information exchange and business transactions called the World Wide Web (WWW). For this reason, support in data, information, and knowledge exchange has become a key issue in current computer technology. The success of the WWW has made it increasingly difficult to find, access, present, and maintain the information required by a wide variety of users. In response to this problem, many new research initiatives and commercial enterprises have been set up to enrich available information with machine processable semantics. This semantic web will provide intelligent access to heterogeneous, distributed information, enabling software products (agents) to mediate between user needs and the information sources available. This paper summarizes ongoing research in the area of the semantic web, focusing especially on ontology technology.