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Configure Thesaurus in MOSS

I’m working on an architecture review document this week and it suggests, among other things, that the client consider using the thesaurus to help improve the end user search experience.  Having never done this myself, I wanted to do a quick hands-on test so that my suggestion is authentic. 

It was surprisingly difficult to figure out how to do, although it is, in fact, quite easy.  There’s a pretty good bit of information on the thesaurus (check here and here, for example).  However, those docs are either WSS 2.0 / SPS 2003 oriented or they don’t actually spell out what do to after you’ve made your changes in the thesaurus.  They provide a great overview and fair bit of detail, but it’s not enough to cross the finishing line.

These steps worked for me:

  1. Make the changes to the thesaurus.  (See below for an important note)
  2. Go to the server and restart the "Office SharePoint Server Search" service.

A tip of the hat to Mr. J. D. Wade (bio).  He provided the key bit about restarting the search service and rescued me from endless, time consuming and unnecessary iisresets and full index crawls.  This episode proves, once again, that Twitter is the awesome.  (Follow me on twitter here.  I follow any SharePoint person that follows me).

I don’t know if this functionality is available in WSS.  If it is or is not, please leave a comment or email me and I’ll update this post.

Important note: There’s conflicting information on which XML thesaurus file to change.  There’s this notion of "tsneu.xml" as being the "neutral" thesaurus.  I wasted some time working with that one.  In my case, I needed to change the "tsenu.xml" file located under the folder of the app ID itself: \\win2003srv\c$\Program Files\Microsoft Office Servers\12.0\Data\Office Server\Applications\3c4d509a-75c5-481c-8bfd-099a89554e17\Config.  I assume that in a multi-farm situation, you would make this change everywhere a query server runs.

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