New Database Search Tool Will Aid Bureau Investigations

WASHINGTON (February 14, 2011)—For special agents and intelligence analysts, finding specific pieces of missing information in an investigation can be very complicated. The process involves searching through hundreds of databases with individual passwords, manually compiling information from each source, and then trying to sift through the collected information for the missing link. It is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Recently, the FBI deployed a new tool which encompasses the Bureau’s most-used databases while providing a single-source search capability that pulls information directly from hundreds of databases and datasets called the Data Integration and Visualization System (DIVS). DIVS provides the capability to search some of the most-used databases, accessing hundreds of millions of documents, all from one location.

During development of DIVS, agents and analysts contributed hundreds of requirements to make the process of searching through the databases easier. These requirements were evaluated and many were selected to create a prototype, which was shared with agents and analysts from across the Bureau. With their assistance and feedback, the prototype was modified so the final program directly addressed the needs of those who use the system most.

The Special Technologies and Applications Section is working on future enhancements to DIVS which may include geospatial tools and cross-case correlation. This will allow users to search for a name, phone number, or other identifiers and find all cases referencing the information. Future plans also include making DIVS available to other intelligence community agencies, helping fulfill President Obama’s initiative to “improve the intelligence community’s ability to collect, share, integrate, and analyze, and act on intelligence swiftly and effectively.”

DIVS is expanding and will eventually encompass all FBI databases and datasheets and allow search capability for all of the systems from one location.