Microsoft SharePoint: Controlled Term Functionality

June 13, 2012

Also covered “SharePointSearch, Synonyms, Thesaurus, and You” provides a useful summary of Microsoft SharePoint’s native support for controlled term lists. Today, the buzzwords taxonomy and ontology are used to refer to term lists which SharePoint can use to index content. Term lists may consist of company-specific vocabulary, the names of peoples and companies with which a firm does business, or formal lists of words and phrases with “Use for” and “See also” cross references.

The important of a controlled term list is often lost when today’s automated indexing systems process content. Almost any search system benefits when the content processing subsystem can use a controlled term list as well as the automated methods baked into the indexer.

In this TechGrowingPains write up, the author says:

A little known, and interesting, feature in SharePoint search is the ability to create customized thesaurus word sets. The word sets can either be synonyms, or word replacements, augmenting search functionality. This ability is not limited to single words, it can also be extend into specific phrases.

The article explains how controlled term lists can be used to assist a user in formulating a query. The method is called “replacement words”. The idea of suggesting terms is a good one which many users find a time saver when doing research. The synonym expansion function is mentioned as well. SharePoint can insert broader terms into a user’s query which increases or decreases the size of the result set.

The centerpiece of the article is a recipe for activating this functionality. A helpful code snippet is included as well.

If you want additional technical support, let us know. Our Search Technoologies’ team has deep experience in Microsoft SharePoint search and customization. We can implement advanced controlled term features in almost any SharePoint system.

Iain Fletcher, June 13, 2012

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