The Limitations With a i2 Analyst Notebook


IBM's i2 provides a full line of software for law enforcement, defense, national security and private sector security professionals, including intelligence and investigation management software. As part of the i2 Clarity Platform, i2's core collection of intelligence software, Analyst's Notebook analyzes and visualizes large volumes of disparate information into consolidated and actionable intelligence. Although the software is a feature-heavy security tool, it naturally comes with some limitations.


  • In comparison to other digital forensic analysis software, Analyst Notebook is something of an outlier. This software can;t perform forensic testing -- it simply analyzes existing data. Notebook also uses a proprietary binary file format to save data, unlike other forensic tools that provide industry-standard saving formats. In terms of social network analysis, i2's product doesn't analyze hubs, cells, cliques, geospatial dynamics or weight and value.


  • Although Analyst's Notebook focuses on visual link analysis via graphical display, the program lacks dynamic temporal visualization or 3-D chart navigation. While i2's tool does draw entities and relationships on a graphically linked chart, it doesn't display all possible paths or offer dynamic database filters for visualization.


  • Analyst's Notebook comes with a fair share of geospatial and data-management tools, but the geospatial toolbox lacks raster and vector displays, geo-queries and geo-filters. In the area of data management, this software can't perform phonetic searching and comes without an integrated knowledgebase or user-extensible relational database. Likewise, the program won't allow integration with third-party programs such as Google Earth. I2's software caters to a single user, and doesn't offer a multiuser mode out of the box, though i2 offers this feature with the purchase of additional products.


  • For its limitations, Analyst's Notebook has plenty of useful features. Essentially, the software serves as a link analyzer, identifying otherwise opaque relationships between linked data. It also offers support for dynamic analytical thought processes and displays links via briefing charts. The tool's COPLINK Analysis Search promises instant access to crime data from within the program. Analyst's Notebook is fully scalable and identifies connections, patterns and trends in data sets. In a glowing 2011 review, SC Magazine -- a publication for IT security professionals -- said that the program is “remarkably flexible” and “the type of tool whose benefits are limited only by one's imagination.”

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