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I'm using Sitecore 9.1.1 and I've got a multilist with search field in the user profile (template in the core database) that is pointing to the master database for its datasource: databasename=master&StartSearchLocation={93C3B218-3378-4046-98FC-AAF3D44DA8FF}&TemplateFilter={677AD112-B847-4E8E-AAB0-5F4246D172DC}. The correct items show up in the source side:

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But when the item is selected and the profile saved, while the ID is captured correctly, the display is unfriendly:

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I assume this is because I'm using the "databasename" parameter to get the source, and there's no comparable setting on the destination part of this. Is there a way to configure this, or is this a scenario where I'd need to make a custom field to handle the scenario?

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OOTB Sitecore search-driven fields do not support any parameter for databasename. Search driven fields always use Context.ContentDatabase for the search, which means if you are in the core database from the content editor it will try to run the source query against core database and if you are in the master database which generally defaults for the content editor, it will try to run the source query against it.

I guess You can handle this scenario in two ways. First, you can create a custom field. Second, you can use multilist without the search and using DatabaseName parameter in it.

Here is an old question in which Mark Cassidy is explain the same - Is there a way to reference another database in Multilist with Search

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