Naveen Balani has recently published a good intro primer on the Semantic Web through IBM’s Developer Works entitled, "The Future of the Web is Semantic". Highly recommended.
Also, a recent paper on information retrieval and the semantic web was selected as the best paper in the 2005 ICSS mini-track on The Semantic Web: The Goal of Web Intelligence. The paper, by Tim Finin, James Mayfield, Clay Fink, Anupam Joshi, and R. Scott Cost, Information Retrieval and the Semantic Web, Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on System Sciences, January 2005, is also available as a PDF download. I recommend this to anyone interested in the application of Semantic Web concepts to traditional Internet search engines.