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Plan search scopes (SharePoint Server 2010)

 

Applies to: SharePoint Server 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2011-11-11

Summary: Learn how to plan shared search scopes, scopes for sites, people, and lists, or custom scopes to help users quickly find important content.

This article describes how to plan search scopes to help users narrow search results in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. A search scope defines a subset of information in the search index against which users can run a search query. Users can select a search scope when they perform a search to restrict search results to the subset of information that they want. By planning search scopes, you can create a more productive search experience that helps users quickly find information.

Typically, search scopes, also known as scopes, include specific categories of content that are important and common to users in the organization. For example, you can create a search scope for all items related to a specific project or for all items related to a specific group in the organization, such as finance or marketing. You can also create a search scope that includes several other scopes.

The following table shows the default scopes that are available in SharePoint Server 2010 and the levels at which they are available.

 

This scope Helps users do this At this level Customizable?

All Sites

Search across all content in the index

Search Center

Top-level site

Subsite

Lists and libraries

Yes

People

Search for people

Search Center

Top-level site

Subsite

Lists and libraries

Yes

This Site: <Site name>

Search across the current site and all its subsites

Top-level site

Subsite

Lists and libraries

No

This List: <List name>

Search across the current list

Lists and libraries

No

In addition to the default scopes that are listed in the previous table, you can create custom scopes. For example, you can use a custom scope so that users can search for content in a specific set of Web sites, or all Word documents that were authored by a particular person, or content that meets other parameters that you specify.

Scopes that you create at the Search service application level are called shared scopes because they are shared with all site collections that use that Search service application. Site collection administrators decide which shared scopes to use and how to display them.

Site collection administrators can also create custom scopes at the site collection level, which makes the custom scopes available only to the site collection on which they were created.

Site collection administrators can either use the shared scopes that are available at the Search service application level or copy the shared scopes they want to use in their site collection and then modify them. They can then select the display groups in which to include each scope. Display groups can include the search box drop-down list and the Advanced Search page.

noteNote
Site collection administrators cannot delete or directly modify shared scopes. However, they can copy a shared scope and then modify the copy.

When you plan search scopes, analyze the information architecture of the content to determine broad content sets on which people are likely to search. Some of these content sets will span many sites, and some will span subsets of information within site collections. Site collection administrators decide whether to implement shared scopes or site collection-level scopes for a particular site collection, based on the needs of the users of that site collection. If you have content that is only relevant within certain site collections, delegate that scope planning to site collection administrators.

Because site collections consume a particular Search service application, all settings for a particular Search service application affect all its associated sites. The Search service application administrator manages shared scopes for the service application, and therefore for all sites that consume the service application. Search service application administrators can perform the following tasks:

  • Create and configure shared scopes.

  • Add scope rules to shared scopes.

  • Delete shared scopes.

  • Refresh changes made to scopes.

The All Sites and People shared scopes are automatically created for each Search service application and are available on the Search Center by default.

Each site collection administrator should create scopes based on the information architecture within the site. They can decide to create new scopes, make a copy of shared scopes (a copy of a shared scope becomes a site collection-level scope), or both. For example, site collection administrators can add scopes by selecting shared scopes that are useful for people who are using their site collections, and then supplement those scopes by creating scopes specific to the site collection.

The following table shows the actions that site collection administrators can perform with shared scopes and with site collection-level scopes.

 

Site collection administrators can perform these actions on shared scopes Site collection administrators can perform these actions on site collection-level scopes
  • Choose how to display search scopes (search box drop-down list, Advanced Search page, or both).

  • Copy and modify a shared scope to use as a scope for the site collection.

  • View status — for example, what scope rules are contained in scopes and the order in which they appear.

  • Choose how to display search scopes (search box drop-down list, Advanced Search page, or both).

  • Create site collection-level scopes.

  • Edit site collection-level scopes.

  • Add scope rules.

  • Delete site collection level scopes.

  • View status — for example, what scope rules are contained in scopes and the order in which they appear.

Site collection administrators cannot directly create or add rules to shared scopes. However, they can copy a shared scope as a site-collection scope and modify the copy.

noteNote
After a site collection administrator copies a shared scope, the copy becomes a site collection-level scope that the site collection administrator can use to perform any of the actions that they can perform on any other site collection-level scope.

When creating or editing a new site collection-level scope, you specify the following:

  • Unique title.

  • (Optionally) description for the scope.

  • Display group, also known as scope group. Site collection administrators can assign scopes to display groups to determine where scopes appear on the site. By default, SharePoint Server 2010 provides display groups for the search box drop-down list and the Advanced Search page. Site collection administrators can assign one or more scopes to any display group.

  • Results page. You can use the default search results page to display search results when a particular scope is used or you can specify a different page. Note that if you specify a different page, you must first create that search results page.

By default, no site collection-level scopes exist. But all shared scopes are available to each site collection.

Display groups let you assign scopes to a particular search box. Site collection administrators have several options for configuring the existing display groups or they can decide to create one or more new display groups. Typically, a site owner identifies a particular need for a display group and asks the site collection administrator to create the display group. For example, users of a particular team site might have to search for content that is in multiple document libraries. To narrow the body of content they are searching over, they currently must perform separate searches in different search boxes — for example, in the search box of each library — or construct an advanced query to filter the search results. To give users an easier way to perform this search, the site collection administrator creates a display group and assigns the appropriate scope to it. Site owners can then associate this display group with a particular search box — for example, a search box on a custom search page on the site. Users then use that search box to query the content defined by the scope (in this case, the document libraries). By default, SharePoint Server 2010 provides two display groups:

  • Search Dropdown   By default, the All Sites and People scopes are assigned to this display group and it is used by the search box.

  • Advanced Search   By default, the All Sites scope is assigned to this display group and it is used by the search box on the Advanced Search page.

Site collection administrators can perform the following actions:

  • Add scopes to any display group.

  • Remove scopes from any display group.

  • Create new display groups and assign the scopes they want to them.

  • Change the order in which scopes appear in the Search Scopes list.

  • Specify which scope is selected by default in the Search Scopes list.

Site owners can perform the following actions:

  • Assign different display groups to the search box and the Advanced Search page in the Search Center site.

  • Create new search pages by using the Search Box and Advanced Search Box Web Parts and assign the display group or groups that they want to use.

You define a scope by adding scope rules to the scope. Scope rules define what content to associate with the scope and what content not to associate with it.

Each scope rule is based on a particular scope rule type, which defines the properties, locations, and sources of content. The following table lists the scope rule types that are available to shared scopes and site collection-level scopes.

 

This scope rule type Is available to shared scopes? Is available to site collection-level scopes? Tests content by

Web address (http://server/site)

Yes

Yes

Location

Property Query
(Author = John Doe)

Yes

Yes

Single property

Content Source

Yes

No

A particular content source

All Content

Yes

Yes

All content in the content index

The All Content scope rule type is the simplest because it associates all crawled content with the scope. For each of the other three scope rule types, a Search service application administrator can configure the scope rule to specify the content to associate with the scope. The configuration options are described in the following list:

  • Include   Items matching this rule appear in search results unless another rule removes them. When combining rules, this behavior resembles the OR logical operator.

  • Require   Items matching other rules must also match this rule to appear in search results. This behavior is the same as the AND logical operator.

  • Exclude   Items matching this rule are excluded from search results even if they match other rules. This behavior is the same as the AND NOT logical operator.

Scopes will often be based on a single scope rule. However, there are good reasons to use scopes that have multiple rules. You can create scopes based on a specific theme or conceptually-related set of content. To do this, you can include and exclude several locations, properties, or a combination of locations and properties that are conceptually related. The logical combination of rules determines the content that is either included or excluded from the scope.

You can create rules based on the location (Web address or UNC path) of content that uses the Web Address scope rule type. Several usage scenarios require rules of this kind. This includes searching for content in the following locations:

  • In a group of document libraries

  • Within a set of folders in a single large document repository —for example, when you search an organization archive

  • On external sites for a particular subject

  • On other servers in the organization

Each Web address scope rule contains a single location that is defined by a single folder, domain name, or server name. Depending on what content that you want to make available in a scope, you add matching rules until all relevant locations are included in the scope and all irrelevant locations are excluded. Examine the information architecture and site structure to help you decide which locations to include in each scope.

You can base scope rules on a specific value for a single managed property by using the Property Query scope rule type. Before you create such a scope rule, verify the following:

  • The managed property that you want to use exists, either because it is a default managed property or was created by a Search service application administrator.

  • The managed property is configured to be available for use in scopes. By default, only some managed properties are configured to be available for use in scopes. Only managed properties that Search service application administrators have made available for scopes can be used in search scopes.

    noteNote
    Search service application administrators can enable a property to be available for use in scopes by using the Metadata Property Mappings page for the particular property.

After the scope rule is created, each item of content that matches the property query is tested against that specific value and included or excluded in the search results based on the rule. Rules based on properties can only be queried by using the Is exactly operator and not against other operators, such as Contains.

For example, a site collection administrator for a sales portal site can create scopes for each sales office by using the SalesOffice managed property and setting the value for the rule in each scope to the value for the relevant office. Because this managed property is used to define the scope, the search results will include only content for the sales office when you use this scope.

When the organization plans the managed properties, consider what scopes will help users search. To create a scope for a certain set of content, you must ensure that properties of that content are mapped to managed properties that can be included in scope rules.

There are several reasons a Search service application administrator might create additional content sources. They are typically created to crawl content on a different schedule than other content. For example, a Search service application administrator might create a separate content source to crawl content that is located on a different SharePoint farm or on a file share. If a content source exists that already includes the content that users what to query, a Search service application administrator can create a shared scope with a scope rule (content source type) to enable users to search over that content.

Only shared scopes can contain scope rules that are based on a specific content source. This kind of scope rule is not available to scopes at the site collection level.

For each content source, consider whether the content that was indexed for that content source is something that would make sense grouped together in a shared scope for people using the site collection. If so, you can add a scope rule for that content source.

Also consider if the content source can be divided up into smaller bodies of content that people might want to search for. If so, you can combine scope rules to specify the content source with other scope rule types to create a narrower scope.

For more information about how to plan content sources, see Plan for crawling and federation (SharePoint Server 2010).

When you create a scope rule using the All Content scope rule type, all content in the content index is available to the scope. If you want to create a narrower scope, you can add scope rules to a scope that uses the All Content scope rule type to exclude particular content from the scope.

The All Sites shared scope can be copied and used as a starting point to include all content in the content index. Then you can add scope rules that exclude content from search results to create scopes that are broad but do not include a certain set of search results. It is sometimes easier to use a copy of the All Sites shared search scope with exclusion rules than to create a complex search scope that contains rules that include every subset of content on the site.

Regardless of whether you start with a copy of the All Sites shared scope or another scope, you might want to consider adding scope rules that exclude content as a separate step from adding scope rules that include content because reasons to exclude content from search results can differ significantly from the reasons to include content.

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