Plan people search (SharePoint Server 2010)


Applies to: SharePoint Server 2010

Planning people search is an important part of planning collaboration and social computing within the enterprise. By using people search in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, users can find people by department, job title, knowledge and expertise, and common interests. You can configure people search to use any imported Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory, including Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) and SharePoint user groups. By default, the following ways of finding people are enabled in SharePoint Server 2010, and you can refine many of them to enhance the user’s search experience:

  • Search scope for people search: A search scope limits search results to the public profiles in the user profile store for a specific Search service application. Regardless of the search terms used, only users that match those terms appear in search results.

  • People tab in the Search Center with Tabs site: The People tab in a Search Center with Tabs provides options for finding users by name or related subject, or by user-related properties such as title and department.

  • Advanced search: Users can find people through advanced searches on user profile property values. Every user profile that matches the value of the selected profile property appears in search results.

  • From values for user profile properties: Users can find people without explicitly searching by clicking any profile property value to find other users who have the same value for that property. These properties can be displayed in user profiles, in user information lists, SharePoint Server 2010 lists, or in general search results.

  • Refined searches: You can refine search results for a people search to include only results for users who have a specific value in the Job Title or Organization property fields in their user profiles.

  • Group by social distance: By default, all searches for users are grouped by social distance. That is, users who work most closely with the user who is viewing search results are grouped first, followed by users who are further away in their organization’s hierarchy. This grouping is based on the explicit social network established by users in their My Colleagues pages on their My Site.

Planning people search involves the following:

  1. Plan the prerequisites for people search

  2. Plan search scopes for people search

  3. Plan Search Center customizations for people search

In addition to the planning steps in this article, refer to the following articles when planning people search:

To enable people search in SharePoint Server 2010, you must enable, configure, and use the My Site feature. My Sites are personal spaces where users can store and manage documents, and where users can provide information about qualifications, skills, and interests that might be useful to others. The more information that people provide about their projects, responsibilities, and areas of expertise, the more relevant and focused are the results returned by people search queries.

Examples include the following:

  • Searching for a collaborator by using keywords that describe skills, experience, concepts, or geographical location

  • Searching for a fluent language speaker by naming the language

  • Searching for people based on their roles or product expertise

  • Searching for people by using the name of an existing project team or cost center

Search scopes enable users to find people by department, expertise, or by common interests. Administrators can create search scopes at the following two levels:

  • Service application level. The global search scope instances created at this level are called shared search scopes because they are reusable anywhere within the server farm that consumes this Search service application — even if the farm is only a stand-alone installation of SharePoint Server 2010 on a single computer.

  • Site collection level. Site collection administrators can create search scopes to be used only within one specific site collection.

By default, one global search scope named People is created during the installation of SharePoint Server 2010. Site collection administrators can customize the search scope to limit its use to within only one specific site collection, or can create additional search scopes based on indexed user profile properties.

We recommend that you build search scopes for people search at the global level instead of at the site-collection level, such as for individual departments. This means that you can centrally administer search scopes. For more information, see Plan the end-user search experience (SharePoint Server 2010).

If you want to enable users to search across My Site sites for things such as other users, projects, and files, you can create a custom search scope for people search so that users can query on that scope.

You can add a new Search Center or Search Center with Tabs to any site collection, and then customize the configuration of the Search Center. For example, you can customize the search experience on a Search Center with Tabs by adding more tabbed pages. You can customize the Search Center with Tabs to reorder or remove tabs.

You can customize the search experience by creating new display groups with which to associate the search scopes, and you can assign scopes to the default display groups. A display group can contain one or more scopes. Site administrators can also control the order in which scopes appear in a particular display group. After you create a display group, designers can modify the People Search Box Web Part to display the scopes within the display group in the Search drop-down list. This modification is useful when display groups contain more than one scope and you want to let users select a specific scope for a query.

For more information about how to customize the Search Center, see Plan the end-user search experience (SharePoint Server 2010).