An identity uniquely identifies an item on a chart or provides a unique link back to entity or link information in a data source.

Two types of identities apply in different situations:

  • An Analyst's Notebook identity uniquely identifies entities in the chart (entities only).
  • For items created from one or more connected data sources, database identities uniquely identify the original source records (entities and links).

An entity can have an Analyst's Notebook identity, one or more database identities, or both. Alternatively, an entity can have no identity.

Identities are used to match items when you add new items to the chart by copying and pasting, importing, or adding them from a data source. If the item that is being added has an identity that matches the identity of an item that is already on the chart, the items are merged. The item that you are adding to the chart might have more than one identity, for example two database identities, so it might match more than one item on the chart. You can decide what to do, based on information that Analyst's Notebook provides.

Analyst's Notebook identity and label

Typically, an entity has a label and an identity. By default, the label is the same as the identity but can be changed. The label is displayed on the chart and does not need to be unique, whereas an entity's identity, if it has one, must be unique within a chart. Analyst's Notebook identities are case-sensitive.

It is important to use an identity that uniquely identifies an item, such as a car's license plate, or a person's name together with their date of birth. An entity's identity means that you can copy entities back and forth between charts without unwanted duplication.

If you do not have enough information to uniquely identify an entity, you can leave its identity blank. For example, you might receive several reports that each involve a John Smith but that include no further identifying information. In this situation, you might add several entities to your chart that are labeled John Smith and have a blank identity.

Links do not have Analyst's Notebook identities.
Note: Do not use hyphens in entity or link labels to separate numeric and text values, for example Smith-100 or 100-SMITH. Analyst’s Notebook interprets the hyphen as a minus symbol if it is adjacent to a numeric value. This results in a negative value for the analysis attribute label value. If this is not the intended interpretation either use a tilde (~) or en dash (–) instead.

Database identity

Entities and links can have one or more database identities. The database identity uniquely identifies the item in the data source. When you are connected to the data source, you can view the live database information that is associated with the item.

If you chart an item from a connected data source, the Analyst's Notebook identity might be set to blank because a database identity is assigned to the item. Whether the identity is set to blank depends on how the connection to the data source is configured.