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I would like to be able to limit a search to 1 or more of my content sources.

Let's imagine that I have 3 content sources that are each mapped to a different department's servers.

I would like to be able to limit any user's searches (using webservice) to any combination of available content sources according to security credentials of that user.

I specifically need to know how I should modify the query xml to limit the search to one or more content sources

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To my knowledge, there is no query filter property to filter a query against a content source name. You can include query filters for specific site url's if the content source is a SharePoint web application or site collection, or a web site address, but you would have to know what those specific web addresses were as part of the query.

Shared scopes configured in the Search Service support rules limiting the scope to specific content sources, and you can limit your query to a specific scope. This is how I would achieve what you want. Define a shared scope, and the query against that scope.

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you should create a scope that includes one of the content sources. This limits the results that are returned to the user to that content source.

please note that results that are returned, are security trimmed. So you can query all content sources at once, and only get the results of those content sources that the user has access too.

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actually this is possible in FAST Search for SharePoint with FQL syntax: contentsource:”your_content_source_name”

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