Thursday, April 8, 2010

How the FBI is using Enterprise Search to improve its law enforcement capabilities: A Case Study on the FBI Sentinel Program

April 14, 2010

Enterprise Search User Group Meeting in NYC.

Join us for this exciting event and great topic on a case study for FAST Search and how FAST provides:

  • Automated indexing and comprehensive search capabilities that support both FBI agents and analysts
  • Manages multiple backend content sources (Documentum and Oracle databases)
  • Provides flexible pre-index content processing to normalize and enrich content using advanced linguistics

For those who have not heard of Sentinel:

  1. Sentinel is the case management system employed by the Bureau to replace older case management systems.
  2. Sentinel provides Web-enabled information management, workflow management, item & evidence management, records search & reporting across all data.


Erik Franklin

Erik Franklin has been with FAST/Microsoft since 2003, and was the second employee hired to support FAST’s expansion into the US Federal Market. Erik has directly supported the closing of all major accounts in the government space, including accounts in the Civilian, Defense & Intelligence communities. This support includes the pre-sales briefings, evaluation support, requirements analysis, architectural design and working with implementation services teams. Erik has held a large number of roles at FAST, including pre-sales, solution implementation, training and search business consulting.

Jon Padgett

Jon Padgett has almost 20 years of sales experience in the US Federal Enterprise Search market. Jon been with FAST/Microsoft since 2008 and joined FAST with the acquisition of the Convera RetrievalWare search platform where he spent 11 years building a successful practice made up of Federal customers in the Civilian, Defense & Intelligence communities. Before that, Jon spent several years with Adobe Systems and then at a Verity Search reseller helping build their government sales practices. Last year Jon won the prestigious Microsoft Platinum Sales Club Top Attainment award.

Register now!


    5:30 PM - Networking (Food and Drinks)

    6:00 PM - News and Highlights

    6:10 pm - A word from our sponsor

    6:30 PM - Speaker Presentation

    7:25 PM - Wrap-Up and Give-Aways

    7:30 PM - After Meeting Social


    1290 Avenue of the Americas, Sixth Floor New York, NY 10104

Special thanks to Metalogix for fully sponsoring this event.

I hope to see you there

Monday, April 5, 2010

Custom workflow step to add user to a security group

I’m not a developer per say…

It might not be the best way to start a post that is introducing a custom workflow step created by me, step that adds users to a SharePoint security group. But I have to be very honest and confess that the last time I opened up a visual studio and compiled anything was in 2006 for SP 2003.

OK, so here are the requirements I had. This is for a site that is built to facilitate a clinical trials and to be managed by study coordinators. The need for a custom activity step was caused by the need to have multiple study sites that would require the same functionality. A medical study coordinators that are not part of admin group, only contributors for a list in the study site, coordinators need to fill out new user information when a person agrees to participate in a study. Coordinators would fill our the person desired user id and their existing email, submit it and have a workflow to notify the external user to register on the site with the user name that was provided by the study coordinator.

As the next step the study participant would register on the site and once coordinators confirm that the new user registered on the site (FBA) they would go to the New User information list, check “User Registered” field and save this information. Update of this user record triggers a workflow that automatically adds this new user to the correct security group that would allow new users submit different online questioners and forms in a secured fashion once they log into the study site

OK, so that’s it with the overview of the process requirements. Lets look at the workflow step developed here to facilitate the process of adding new users to the right security group. Keep in mind this is running with elevated privileges, but the source code is available for you to modify it as desired. It’s available on the codeplex at for download.

Steps to deploy the custom action:

1. download the DLL and register the DLL in the GAC.

2. Add to your web.config the following line in AuthorizeTypes section

<authorizedType Assembly="AddUserToGroup, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=e82442daf6f5df8e" Namespace="CustomAction" TypeName="*" Authorized="True" />

3. Create AddUserToGroup.ACTIONS file with text bellow and save it to the C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\TEMPLATE\1033\Workflow folder. this file is also available for download.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<WorkflowInfo Language="en-us">
<Actions Sequential="then" Parallel="and">
  <Action Name="Add User to the group" ClassName="CustomAction.AddUserToGroup" Assembly="AddUserToGroup, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=e82442daf6f5df8e" AppliesTo="all" Category="ARC Action">
   <RuleDesigner Sentence="Add %1 to the %2 at site %3">
    <FieldBind Field="UserName" Text="Please put the User Name" Id="1" DesignerType="TextArea"/>
    <FieldBind Field="GroupName" Text="Please put the Group Name" Id="2" DesignerType="TextArea"/>
    <FieldBind Field="SiteName" Text="Please put the Site Name" Id="3" DesignerType="TextArea"/>
    <Parameter Name="__Context" Type="Microsoft.Sharepoint.WorkflowActions.WorkflowContext, Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowActions" Direction="In"/>
    <Parameter Name="UserName" Type="System.String, mscorlib" Direction="In" />
    <Parameter Name="GroupName" Type="System.String, mscorlib" Direction="In" />
<Parameter Name="SiteName" Type="System.String, mscorlib" Direction="In" />

Now open up a site and create a workflow in SharePoint Designer, “Add User to a group” step should be available in the list of action.


Add this step and fill in the info, User name, Group Name and the site URL, all fields are mandatory for the workflow action to run.

See example:


Enjoy :-)

SSP Search error (Search application for SSP… is not provisioned)

On one of our farm we noticed that search had not been working, and the search administration page would give this message: “Crawl status The search application for 'SharedServices' on server [SERVERNAME] is not provisioned. Confirm that the Windows SharePoint Services Timer service and Windows SharePoint Services Administration service are running on the server. “

Even though search had been previously configured there, and required services were running, there was not obvious things that would usually jump out .

To troubleshoot it, I first tried stopping Office search from the UI. The status of “stopping” had been not switched to “Stopped” and kinda hang there for a while.

Trying to stop through stsadm –o osearch –action stop, yielded no result as well.

Running: “Net stop osearch” just gave me the “the service could not be controlled in its present state”, same message was observer when I hit stop the services console.

Kill utility was not available on that server and restarting the server was not an option as it was a production server.

Here is the list of steps that resolved the issue:

  • End the process it’s self through tasks manager
  • In central admin the “stopping” message for this Office search disappeared and instead I saw “stopped”
  • Stopping WSS search was not an issue after these steps
  • Then go and delete index from the index location.
  • Start wss search services
  • Start Office search services
  • Edit properties of existing SSP –
    •  this is when I realized that db the SSP was referencing does not exist. And That was the problem all along
  • I created new ssp, associated mysites with this new ssp.
  • Changed association of other web apps with the new SSP, made the new ssp default
  • Started full crawl, a bingo.

Hope it helps :-)

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