SharePoint 2007 Search Feature Overview

Understanding the SP2007 Search

Search Scopes

This is the body of content that the search will be run
against. These can be subsets of the whole content index to help narrow down
and refine the breadth of the search.

SharePoint Search provides search scopes in a drop down list whereas
team sites provide the search scopes as tabs (by default these are the whole site and people).

This scope Enables users to At this level Customisable?
All Sites Search across all content in the index Search Centre

Top-level site

Sub site

Lists and libraries

Yes
People Search for people Search Centre

Top-level site

Sub site

Lists and libraries

Yes
This Site: Site name Search across the current site and all of its sub sites Top-level site

Sub site

Lists and libraries

No
This List: List name Search across the current list or library Lists and libraries No

 

Site and list searches are (in theory) accurate from an end
user perspective but linked content can be held in different areas of the site
or become scattered across the site over time. This can be counteracted using
properties and scopes.

Customisable scopes are available and these can be used to group
certain content in the index into a set of content upon which queries can be
run. This can be done across the whole collection of sites (shared scope) or on
a site by site basis (site-collection-level scopes). The default scopes are
copied and then built upon to create a customisable scope.

As indicated in the table scopes can be applied to different
levels of the site with more functionality available at the higher levels. Only
shared scopes can contain scope rules based on a specific content source.

Scope Rules

Scopes are customisable from their default state with rules
that can include, require or exclude the following elements:

This scope rule type Is available to shared search scopes Is available to site-collection-level search 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

 

More than one rule can be added to help refine the search.
An example could be a user looking for recently updated document in a huge (and
disorganised) document library; the scope could set search location to the root
folder containing all folders and for a last modified date of less than a week.

Display Groups

Display groups provide a way to assign scopes to a
particular search box.

Managed Properties

Upon crawling, the SharePoint search logs meta properties
for the content – these can have different names in different programs. With
2007 came the ability to effectively map the trawled properties to agreed unique
(managed) properties.

Managed properties have the following benefits:

  • Users can use managed properties to construct
    queries in the search box that filter search results.
  • You can use properties on the Advanced Search
    page to enable end users to easily filter search results.
  • Site owners can customize the Advanced Search
    page to use different managed properties.
  • Site administrators can create custom scopes
    with rules that filter search results based on queries. End users benefit from
    advanced property-based queries without the need to learn how to construct an
    advanced query.

Currently the following searchable properties are available through SharePoint 2007 search:

  • Keywords
  • Name
  • Size
  • Subject
  • Created Date
  • Last Modified date
  • Title

Mapping more properties increases the size of the search
database, and reduces performance accordingly, so it’s a good idea to map
properties only when you are confident that the mapping is relevant. Where
multiple instances of the same meta data appear during a crawl user defined
priorities can be set so that the ‘more important’ data string is used.

Managed properties can be included in the rules and search
scopes, it is important to ensure that:

a)
The managed property exists

b)
The managed property is available for use in
search scopes

c)
There are properties of that content that are
mapped to managed properties that can be included in scope rules

When searching using managed properties only the is exactly or is exactly not operators can be used. Managed properties have to be
made available for use in search scopes by the administrators.

The quality of the results delivered is inherently linked to
the level of meta data in the content itself – gapped meta data will omit that
content from searches. It is important the managed properties are unique. Poor
mappings of crawled meta data and managed properties can also result in poor
results. Where a crawled property is key to the information architecture it can
be turned into a managed property (such as AD logon).

What Users See in the Search Results

Keywords

Office SharePoint Server 2007 enables site collection
administrators to create an entity called a keyword that is directly related to
keyword phrases of the same name that are in the index. A site collection
administrator can create a keyword using one or more words.

Keywords can contain a definition, best bets and synonyms to
help users find what they are looking for.

Best Bets

Best Bets can be used to represent the keywords and suggest
a link to the user. These can include further information such as a title and a
description. These can point to top level site pages or a specific page within.
They can also include my sites for best bets such as “chief exec” or “Erika”. Best
bets can appear in search results without the content being crawled.

Synonyms

Synonyms are useful when several search terms are used for
the same concept and content, so that search results are consolidated and not
scattered across several search terms.

 

Relevance

It is possible to bump certain pages up the search results
by increasing their relevance – http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=93736&clcid=0x409

There are 3 levels of relevance – Most authoritative, second
most…, third most… – sites can also be demoted to below the level of
content without a specified relevance.

Good practices to use when planning authoritative page
settings include:

  • SharePoint sites and business applications
    central to high-priority business processes will typically be most
    authoritative.  Could these be mapped from usage stats? (HR policies, flexi sheets, apps
    etc)
  • Sites that encourage collaboration or action are
    likely to be more authoritative than sites that are merely informative.
  • Sites that are informative but not central to
    high-priority business processes or used for collaboration are likely to be in
    the second or third level of authoritative sites.
  • External sites will typically be less
    authoritative, because your organization cannot control the content on those
    sites.
  • You don’t need to assign an authoritative page
    setting to every site. It is a good idea to select relevance for a small number
    of sites that you know are most authoritative or less relevant, and adjust the
    authoritative page settings during normal operations based on feedback from
    users and information in the query logs.

The default precedence for file types in the search setup
for enterprise search is:

  • HTML Web pages
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Word documents
  • XML files
  • Excel spreadsheets
  • Plain text files
  • List items

The current setup has changed this as .ppt files are not
listed second.

Title and URL seem to be weighted highly.

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