Search Scopes in SharePoint 2010 - dummies

Search Scopes in SharePoint 2010

The drop-down boxes that appear next to a search box on a SharePoint 2010 site are used to select the search scope. SharePoint uses search scopes as a way to filter the content index. By limiting the user’s query to filter subsets of the content index, SharePoint increases the probability of returning a relevant results set.

You can create your own custom search scopes to help users of your site get better search results.

Office SharePoint Server Search has a single content index that stores text from all the crawled content sources. SharePoint has two kinds of search scopes. Shared scopes are managed by your company’s search administrator and are shared across site collections. (SharePoint provides two default shared scopes: All Sites and People.)

In addition, though, each site collection can have its own set of scopes that are available for only that site collection. Search scopes are built by creating a set of rules that determines what content is included from the content index.

Here are four kinds of search scope rules you can create:

  • Web address: Allows you to build rules based on locations, such as a site, list, or folder in a document library.

  • Property query: Allows you to build rules based on managed properties, such as author. Managed properties define the set of metadata terms that can be used to build search scopes and queries. In other words, not every metadata term used in list and site columns can be used to build a property query. Instead, your company’s search administrator must add terms to the list of managed properties.

    Thankfully, a good number of metadata terms are already available as managed properties. Chances are if you think a metadata term would be good to use for building search scopes and queries, other people probably will also. Don’t hesitate to ask your company’s search administrator to evaluate your metadata suggestions for use as managed properties.

    Rules based on managed properties use the IsExactly operator, which means that results aren’t returned unless the search term exactly matches the value in the content source.

    You may be inclined to think using properties is of limited value. However, you can create properties for content sources based on data from the Business Data Catalog. Therefore, you have the opportunity to create properties based on business data, such as Sales Territory or Product Category.

  • Content source: Allows you to limit the scope to a specific content source for shared search scopes. This option is available only to your company’s search administrator.

  • All content: Includes all content in the content index in the scope.

You create one rule at a time based on these rule types. You can include, require, and exclude items matching the rules to create the search scope’s filter criteria.

Users need to understand how to use scopes. If you have too many scopes, their use might not be obvious. For example, the All Sites shared scope includes everything in the content index except People.

If a user conducts a People search using the All Sites search scope, he won’t get the same results he would if he were to use the People scope, which is limited to content from user profiles.