SharePoint Best Practices Posts, Day 4 of 10. The Power of Search with Federated Searches.

Guest post by Dave Coleman- Network Manager Twynham School

One of the sessions from The Best Practices Conference was titled “Implementing a search infrastructure – Do’s, Don’ts and considerations” presented by Daniel Wessels. The aim of the session was to show the power of the search UI in SharePoint. It is often overlooked as a major tool in SharePoint and this is because of a lack of awareness of federated search and how to configure the search options within it.

At Twynham we went through the pain last year of putting on the infrastructure updates for SharePoint which enabled us to utilize Federated Search  (it is essential that you get this update from here) and we have also recently configured this update at The British School of the Netherlands and shown them the possibilities of using it in an educational establishment. We have witnessed an explosion in the use of YouTube videos as a teaching resource and this very much brings the whole search experience into one location rather than searching your local SharePoint and then switching tabs to use your favourite Internet search engine to locate resources outside the school.

An example of federated search

In the session Daniel talked about an organisation that has managed to come up with a solution that enabled them to search their Exchange mail boxes as well and this for me would make my search experience complete. This is now very high on my wish list for Office 14 and is something that we will be feeding back through the Office 14 TAP programme that Twynham School is part of. This feature would be fantastic as I am sure we have all spent time trying to think where/when we saw a particular document and whether it was a SharePoint team site, file share or attached to a mail but can never find it without checking all these locations.

The focus of my previous post covered our plans to retire our file servers and although we can index file shares and display the results in SharePoint the limitations of file shares are clear. The failure to be able to index your Exchange mailbox and present the results of that search along with the MOSS search, internet and Youtube results is the final hurdle in creating the perfect search. In case you want to research Federated Search further here are some additional resources:

  1. Andy Dawson’s blog from August 1st
  2. MSDN article giving an overview of Federated Search
  3. Brenda Carter’s article on Federated Search for geographical locations

Comments

2 Responses to “SharePoint Best Practices Posts, Day 4 of 10. The Power of Search with Federated Searches.”
  1. This is truly the final frontier in corporate search, in my mind…properly federating all the search locations so that you can truly search from one place. I have struggled with this and still do because it’s so difficult to identify and categorize all the different search locations that are relevent (and proper) for a corporate intranet. Some are obviously business related and relevant, others or more gray, and still others are not appropriate. I envision, at least in my organization, a search bar sitting on the corporate intranet that any user can find anything they want without having to open up Google or Bing…but we still have a ways to go.

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