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If you want to improve the search experience in your SharePoint sites, you do have a couple of different options and one of them first is making sure that you have a dedicated site for searching. You may already have one, so certainly ask your administrator if you don't know whether you've got a Search Center or not. But if you know that you don't know, you could create one. Just to show you where that options is, I am going to create a new site. Go to my New Site window. I am looking of course at the Silverlight version and I am going to filter the available sites down by the type of search.
Now if all of you have a SharePoint Foundation, well you are not really going to see anything here, because you are going to be limited to the search that only allows you to search within a particular site collection. If you have SharePoint Server, you'll have the ability to create what's called a Basic Search Center. This is a site dedicated to search that has the capability of searching across all site collections and the good benefit is you can connect all your regular sites to this one to see results from all site collections.
If you have the SharePoint Enterprise Edition, you'll also have the ability to add what's called an Enterprise Search Center, which adds even more capabilities, particularly the ability to search through people. And the one I'm not going to cover is what's called the FAST Search Center. This is only really relevant if your administrators have also purchased and installed Microsoft's FAST search engine, which is based on a Norwegian company that they acquired a few years ago. This is intended to be a very, very enterprise-level search engine for large organizations with massive amounts of content.
Now if you have the FAST search engine, I would suggest that you've probably already got a FAST Search Center created. So talk to your administrator about that. I am going to create a Basic Search Center here. Now this can be created as a sub-site, which is fine, but also obviously created as the top-level site in a new site collection, and really the choice there is where do you want this search center to be available. If I just wanted to create a search center for a few people and they were the same people as on my team site, well I could create it as a sub-site and that would be fine.
If I wanted to make this Search Center available to everybody in the organization, I'm probably going to get it created as the top-level site in a new site collection just so applying security is easier. Nevertheless I am going to create this one here just to show what this looks like. This is the homepage of a Basic Search Center. it's really not very impressive but it's still obviously a SharePoint site. If I go to my Site Actions menu, I can still see it's made all lists and libraries. Well, really not a lot.
We have got two lists here. The site is very, very simple. If I click Back, I am going to go in here and search two trees, and I can see immediately what I am getting here is the results across multiple sites. site/central, site/wiki, site/operations. So it is a basic search engine and I will show ways of customizing this a little bit more at least allows us to have that farm wide search quite easily.
The problem is it's a little bit standalone right now. It's just there by itself. You'd have to know what's here in order to be able to use it, and if I was intending to create a search center to be used by a lot of different sites, I would create one as the top-level site in a new site collection. And in fact that's what I have over here. I have a different site collection created @ldcsharepoint.com/site/search and what I have put here is the Enterprise Search Center, which doesn't look all that different from the Basic Search Center.
If I switch between them, the obvious difference here is I have got a little tabs, All Sites search and People search. So in here, I could search for say the word SharePoint across all sites, get about 58 results, switch to the People search and see the people who had that phrase in their profiles. So for example, I can see Gini is here because she has it listed in past projects and listed in Ask Me About. I have in my About Me or Ask Me About showing up in bold where this is finding these results relevant.
As a side note, you can also find People search if it's been configured correctly from your profile here. There is a little Find People box. But the real question here is okay we've got a site dedicated to search. How do my users know that it's there? Well, the answer is they really don't. You're going to have to do it so you can connect one to the other. What do I mean by that? Well, let's go back to my team site that I have been using all along. This is the one where right now, if I search something here, I just get four results, because it's searching inside this site.
I would like this search box instead of searching just locally, I'd like it to connect and pass through that query to my Enterprise Search Center, so that I am searching all sites and I can do that. I'm going to go to the Site Actions > Site Settings of this site. Now I'm at the top-level site which is where I want to be because I need to go to my Site Collection Administration, because in there for every site collection you have Search Settings and this is the way that you can connect a site collection to use a different search center.
Now, the way they phrase it is a little bit unusual here. They say Enable custom scopes or do not use custom scopes. We're actually going to see how to create a custom scope, but that's not what I am not interested in right now. The way that I connect to another Search Center is by checking this Enable custom scopes and it's kind of hinting to me while you have to give it the address of the other Search Center. So I am going to do that. I am going to just go to my other Search Center, grab the address of it, and paste it in.
It's actually looking for the address of the site/pages, so I am going to leave these /pages in there. I have got a couple of choices here saying "Do you want to show the scopes dropdown?" I'm going to say yes, because we'll see what the obvious difference will be shortly with that, and click OK. Go back to the homepage of my team site and refresh the page. Now by refreshing the page, this is what I get by my scopes dropdown, meaning change what it is I'm searching, change what it is that I'm looking at.
The widest scope is always going to be all sites, search everything, but I can reduce my scope by saying well no, I just want to search this site or I just want to search people. Now, we'll also see a little later how we can change it so if I wanted to say just search recently created documents, just search documents made by Bob, just search documents with a status of open, we can do that too. But I am now going to search on two trees, hit Enter, and I'm getting the 200 results back.
It's sending my query through to that Search Center and I can click Back and just go back to my team site. Now there is nothing that's actually stopping you from creating multiple search centers. You can quite happily do that. Search Centers can be created as sub-sites. So you can create as many as you find useful. One of the benefits of them existing as their own sites is they can actually be customized. Whether I'm looking at the homepage, which just looks like this or the results page, these are created of Web Parts.
These pages are editable. And as we go forward, we'll show a couple of places where we can start to inject a bit more information that we might find useful. And that's the real power of creating Search Centers. They are SharePoint sites. We know how to customize SharePoint sites, we can customize these Search Centers, we can use these Search Centers from all across our SharePoint farm.
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