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i will have 3 sites for three different departments. I was thinking to locate them in a single site collection. But there is a requirement that in any departments search result only that site must be scoped. So can we restrict the search scope by sites. Or this is not possible? As i know we can only restrict the searc in site collection scope.

According to your answers i will change my architecture of sites. Thanks.

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Create your own search scopes, have a look at these [stackoverflow post][1], [stackexchange post][2] [1]: stackoverflow.com/questions/3287183/… [2]: sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/44522/… –  Diptarag Oct 4 '12 at 7:34
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You should create custom scopes and add conditions on those scopes limiting results to those coming from the specific URLs. When searching each scope, the users will only see results with URLs containing the starting URL you defined. You can also limit the scopes the users see in the scope selector (or hide the selector), you need to replace the search box embedded in the master page (it's a delegate control) with your own search box (same control, just with your own parameters).

Just go to search settings (under SSP) there you will see a section for scopes. create a new scope and add a condition requiring the URL to contain your site URL. compile the scopes and add them to the site collection search box (under site collection settings --> scopes)

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3287183/limiting-sharepoint-search-engine-to-a-specific-subsite

however if in future they want to use People Picker feature it only scoped for site collection as far as I know.

hope it helped :)

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