SharePoint 2010: Customizing the people-content search connection

November, 2010

SharePoint 2010 offers separate content and people search functions. Although the search boxes are located in different parts of the user interface, there is some cross-over on the search results pages. For example, it is possible to get an authored-by list of documents in people search results and a list of people with expertise that matches a query term in content search results. This leaves the user with the following questions:

  • Which one is best for my situation: people or content search?
  • How do I conduct a people search? Where's the people search box?
  • If there is nothing in the documents-by list on the people search results page, does this mean the person hasn't written anything?
  • If there are no people listed in the content search results, does that mean that no one in the organization knows anything about the query term?
  • Why don't external experts and documents show up as related information in the search results?

Both content and people search are serviceable using standard (out-of-the-box or OOTB) features, but SharePoint offers five powerful ways to customize and integrate them. When and how should they be used? In this article we describe SharePoint's OOTB content and people search functions and discuss each of the customization options.

SharePoint 2010 OOTB search
SharePoint 2010 automatically provides simple and advanced search for both people and content.

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Content Search Results
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Basic People Search
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Basic people search, a simple search box in the top navigation bar of the User Profile (or My Site) page. By default, queries typed in the box will return results from content stored in SharePoint My Sites and user profiles.
People search results
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Note that by default, some people data is displayed on the content search results page, and some content data is displayed on the people search results page. For this to work, the query term (in this case "taxonomies") must be present not only in the content sources (web pages, lists, libraries) but also in the responsibilities, interests, or "ask me about" fields in the people profile.

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Created on November 27, 2010 l Updated on November 30, 2010