Ontology, being the branch of philosophy concerned with describing "what exists", tackles the topics of Space and Time since they are often used to describe things. An Introduction to Ontology devotes a chapter to each. As usual, things are more complicated than our initial intuition expects, and debate continues about different viewpoints. In a nutshell, the following are discussed:
- Space is usually defined in terms of "regions"
- Space is either absolute or relative.
- Space is either something things "are in", or it is synonymous with the thing itself
i.e. regions only have properties like size and location, versus, a region itself having the property blue if the stuff in it is blue.
- Space is either Euclidean or not (i.e. flat or curved)
- Space is either separate from Time, or parts of the same thing: space-time.
The computer system was to replace using microfilm photos of the documents with optical disk storage of the images. It would link these images with a structured database of information related to each property. One of the goals of the database was to enable answering basic questions about property locations.