Sharepoint 2010 : The Search User Interface - The People Search Page (part 1) - People Search Options

11/7/2013 3:29:17 AM

Working with documents, lists, and web pages is only one of the many reasons SharePoint 2010 is attractive as a portal and collaboration platform. Another part of the equation is SharePoint's ability to connect people with other people through its form of social networking. People have different skills, competencies, resources, and networks that are most likely not implicitly known to everyone in an organization. The aggregation of knowledge about people is what has made social networking Internet sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn such core experiences inside and outside of the office. The value of participating in these sites is not to find information stored within documents, but to find information stored within and about people.

Within a company, people are arguably the most valuable resource. Knowing who can provide the right expertise, who knows whom, and who works for whom can provide answers that a company directory cannot. Knowledge about people's competencies within an organization can produce greater efficiencies by directing answer seekers to knowledgeable experts, instead of reproducing research and answers. SharePoint 2010 can provide the platform for connecting people with this information. If a user needs a list of employees that know how to manufacture a widget, or create a specialized spreadsheet, or review a legal agreement, SharePoint 2010 can provide those answers through the People search page.

 Note This section is not about how to direct SharePoint to crawl data about people, but instead it is about how to retrieve that data once it is crawled.

If set up, the People search page can provide access to data such as that found in MySites, user profiles, Active Directory, web sites, collaboration sites, as well as personal and professional blogs.

The People search page can be accessed through the same pathways as an All Sites search page. To review, these pathways include navigating to the search center and selecting the People tab, or entering a search in the query box and selecting the People search scope. Figure 1 shows the selection of the People scope if this option is enabled on the query box.


Figure 1. People scope on the query box

People Search Options

Similar to the All Sites search page, navigating the the People search tab provides a few options not available by default from the query box. These include a link to the Preferences page and a link to open the search options. The Preferences page is by default identical to the Preferences page for All Sites search. Selecting Search Options opens up the People search equivalent of advanced search options. Unlike the Advanced Search page found on the All Sites search, however, selecting Search Options simply opens a set of free text fields to enter additional parameters to the query. The default fields for Search Options are shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2. People search options

The search fields that direct toward a People search results page work just like any other search field. A query is entered, in this case for a person, skill, job title, keyword, etc., the query is run, and the results are returned on the People search results page. As seen in Figure 3, the layout of this search results page is fairly similar to the All Sites search, with a few exceptions.


Figure 3. People search results page

The search field and the Preferences page still appear at the same location. The Search Options link replaces the Advanced Search page link, but simply opens up an additional set of options below the query field. These options are the same as a free text property restriction. The Last Name and First Name fields allow a user to search for a person's first or last name respectively. Search queries are not case-sensitive, so there is no need to capitalize the first letter of a first or last name in the query. The Last Name and First Name fields will search for exact matches to the entered query, so if a user enters the query “Sand” into the Last Name field, it will not return results for a user with the last name “Sanderson”. To indicate that a query entered into the Last Name or First Name fields is intended to be part of a name, and not an exact match, the user must enter the wildcard character, “*”. It is important to note that just like searching in All Sites, partial word searches are restricted to prefix matching in People search.

The Job Title and Keyword search fields will also match only an exact term unless the wildcard operator is inserted. Unlike first and last names, however, these fields in a result may include more than one term. Consequently, the entered keyword or job title must match exactly one term in the result, but the result doesn't need to match only the entered query. As a result, entering part of a job title, such as a query for “sales”, would return people with the job title “Sales”, “Regional Sales Manager”, or “Sales Director”, since each contains an exact match for the term “sales”.

As mentioned earlier, the Search Options section functions just like the Advanced Search page and more specifically, property restrictions. Just like property restrictions for documents, not all users will be concerned with learning to use property restriction in People search, especially considering that search options occur as a drop-down instead of a completely different page. It may be useful, however, for some users and administrators to know the property names for the fields in this section. The reason for this is that the fields in the search options do not allow for multiple property restrictions on the same property as in the Advanced Search page. If a user enters the terms “Josh Robert”, “Josh OR Robert”, “Josh; Robert”, or any other combination that may seem logical in a different search engine to denote two separate terms, the desired results will not be returned. This means that if a user wishes to return results for users with either the first name “Josh” or “Robert”, the user is unable to do so without manually entering the property restriction syntax shown here.

FirstName:"Josh" OR FirstName:"Robert"

When multiple, different fields or property restrictions on the Search Options are completed, each field will be separated with the AND operator. This means that the query will return only results that match the terms entered in all fields, but will not return results that meet a portion of the query. To assist in the building of broader People search queries, the default property names can be found in Table 1.

Table 1. People Search Property Names

Property Name

Standard Web Parts in People Search Results

The People search results page does allow for the Alert Me, RSS, and Search from Windows actions provided in the All Sites search. These features operate the same in People search as they do in All Sites search. This search page also allows for faceted search refinements that function just like All Sites search, but the page also allows for filtering on properties relevant to the people scope. The default refiners in People search include View and Job Title, but these options can be expanded by the administrator depending on the managed properties with an environment. View allows for users to specify if the result was returned due to a query match in the person's profile or name. Depending on the type and amount of information provided within a person's profile, this provides a useful tool to specify whether a user is looking for a specific person, or someone that works with or knows a person. Refining by Job Title is useful for larger result sets in which the user generally knows the title of the person he or she is looking for, but may not be able to be specific enough to enter a search for Job Title in the Search Options.

  •  Sharepoint 2010 : The Search User Interface - The Advanced Search Page (part 2) - Picking Property Restrictions
  •  Sharepoint 2010 : The Search User Interface - The Advanced Search Page (part 1) - Keywords on the Advanced Search Page
  •  Sharepoint 2010 : The Search User Interface - Search Query Syntax - Property Restrictions
  •  Sharepoint 2010 : The Search User Interface - Search Query Syntax - Search Query Operators
  •  Sharepoint 2010 : Creating a Workflow Using SharePoint Designer
  •  Sharepoint 2010 : Creating a Workflow Using Visual Studio 2010 - Using the Visual Studio Workflow Designer (part 2)
  •  Sharepoint 2010 : Creating a Workflow Using Visual Studio 2010 - Using the Visual Studio Workflow Designer (part 1)
  •  Sharepoint 2010 : Creating a Pluggable Workflow Service (part 6) - Calling a SharePoint-Hosted WCF Service
  •  Sharepoint 2010 : Creating a Pluggable Workflow Service (part 5) - Calling a WCF Service, Receiving WCF Messages , Raising Events in a Workflow Service, Configuring Pluggable Workflow Services
  •  Sharepoint 2010 : Creating a Pluggable Workflow Service (part 4) - Using the ExternalDataExchange Attribute, Deriving from SPWorkflowExternalDataExchangeService
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