I'm a member of a search project team in SAP IT. We are working on integrations of search into web systems, internally into the intranet portal as well as externally, e.g. for help.sap.com, Business Center and for SCN. We implemented some special enhancements and adaptations of the search functionality for SCN and we are constantly working on improvements and adding more searchable content.
Alon Aizenberg provided an excellent overview in his SCN search enhancements blog and Vasco Miranda introduced the OpenSearch API in his great blog about OpenSearch on SCN. In this blog I'd like to add some hints on how to make best use of SCN search and it's features.
Header Search Box - Select the search scope!
You can start your search by using the search box in the SCN header or by calling the SAP search URL http://search.sap.com/. In the SCN header you can decide if you want to restrict the search on content from SCN or if you are interested in all available SAP content. Submitting your search query opens the search results page.
Search Results Page - Dive into the results and features!
The search results page displays the search results from all the connected repositories. At the time of this writing the following content is integrated into the SAP search:
- SCN content
- Documentation and glossary entries from help.sap.com
- Support notes from the SAP Support Portal on the SAP Service Marketplace
- Selected content from SAP.com
- Business Center content about On-demand solutions from SAP
- EcoHub content about SAP Partners and their solutions
We are constantly looking for relevant content and adding new repositories to the search, so please check regularly!
Within the search results page you will find:
- SCN page header to navigate within SCN
- Filter search results to narrow down the search results based on pre-defined categories
- Search box to enter search terms and start new searches
- Results count showing the number of results and the displayed results range
- Sort options to sort the search results
- Best Bets showing suggested search results based on your search query
- Search results listing relevant results from the connected repositories based on your search query
- Sponsored Content showing promoted search results based on your search query
SCN page header - Log in to find more!
The header shows the logged in user. If you are not logged in, you will see login and registration links. The search checks your permissions and only returns results that you are allowed to see based on your SCN role and the groups you are a member of. So it's recommended to log on to see all possible results. If you are not registered yet, you should consider to register now to make best use of SCN and the search.
Filter search results - Narrow down the results!
The filter section lists facet filter results based on predefined categories. The most important filters are:
- Source - lists the different repositories that are providing search results. If you selected "Search the community" in the SCN header, the source "SAP Community Network (SCN)" will be selected, restricting the search to results from the SCN community. To show results from all connected repositories you can deselect the filter.
- Asset Type - lists the different search result types, like e.g. Blogs, Discussions, Support Notes, People, ...
- Language - lists the languages of content in the search results
- Date - allows filtering based on the last modification date of the search results
But there are a lot more filters. Once you select a filter value you may see context-sensitive filters. E.g. if you select the source value "SAP Community Network (SCN)" you will find additional filters, e.g. the "Space" filter which allows you to restrict your search to a specific SCN space.
The filters are collapsible and most of them are closed by default. You can open collapsed filters by clicking the small arrow in front of the filter name.
If the filter doesn't show the value you are looking for, you can click the "more" link to open a popup dialog showing an expanded list of results. Here you can search for a specific value or sort the filter results alphabetically and page through the results.
For more information about the SCN filters please read the SCN search enhancements blog.
Search Box - Use quotes for exact search!
The search application performs a full text search on the title, the description and the content of the documents and tries to find results that contain all of the entered search terms in the document. The search is fuzzy and might bring back results with minor variations to what you entered. To perform an exact search for a given word or phrase, enclose the query term in quotes, like .e.g. "software logistics". This will turn off the fuzziness and stop returning variations of the query term and for terms it will only return results that contain the exact term with it's words in the exact order.
Sort Options - Sort and understand the ranking!
The sort options dropdown menu lists the available sort options. By default the results are sorted by relevance but you can choose to sort the results by date or rating.
For the relevance sort order you should know that the relevance is calculated based on the number of hits of the search query words in the search results. Hits in the title are rated highest, followed by hits in the description and finally hits in the content. More hits usually result in a higher ranking and a number of hits in a short document are more relevant that the same number of hits in a long document.
Best Bets - Check the most relevant results!
If you search the SCN community you might see Best Bets results listed above the regular results list. These are important results picked by the SCN content team for some of the most common search terms.
Search Results - Use the information!
The search result list displays the results matching your search query and filter settings. You can restrict the list using the filters and sort the results with the sort options. The list presents 10 results per page and you can page through the results using the paging controls at the bottom of the search page.
The search results are presented with the title which is a link to the result, a list of properties and a list of content snippets with the searched words highlighted. The properties can be different based on the result type, but it always starts with the result type in bold. For most SCN results this is usually followed by the author and the last modification date.
Sponsored Content - Promoted content for you!
In the right column you may find a list of sponsored content results. These are promoted results that might be interesting for you based on the given search term.
OpenSearch - Another way of using the search!
An additional way to use the SAP search is the OpenSearch API that allows you to integrated the search into your browser search box or to consume search results with an RSS reader. Please refer to the great blog provided by Vasco Miranda to learn more about this topic.
Bookmarkable URL - Save and share your search settings!
Please note that all your search settings, the search query, the selected filters, the sort order and the paging status are reflected in the URL. You can bookmark the URL to come back later and open the search with exactly the same settings. And you can send or post the URL to allow someone else to open the same search. But please note two important things:
- If someone else opens the URL and logs on to SCN the list of results might be different due to different permissions.
- Opening the URL at a later point in time might bring up different results because of content changes.
I hope that the information provided in this blog will help you to get a deeper understanding of the SCN search and it's features. Try it out and make best use of it. It's created to help you find what you are looking for and we are constantly working on improvements based on your feedback.