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    By: Jan E. Odegard

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Authentication Mechanisms

Module by: Alex Voss. E-mail the author

Summary: Discusses issues with authentication mechanisms

Researchers complained about the need of using different passwords for different services. Clearly, some unified form of authentication is required. Athens is a partial answer to the problem but the sign-up process and the need to remember and periodically renew passwords make it less than ideal.

The move towards Shibboleth-based authentication will address many of these issues and efforts are underway to integrate Shibboleth and the UK Access Management Federation with traditional certificate-based security mechanisms. Other models such as community gateways were mentioned but there are significant issues with authorisation and accounting where the resource provider does not know the identity of the requesting user.

While Shibboleth and the UK Access Management Federation offer a potential solution for many authentication scenarios, they are not without their problems. Respondents from information services raise issues about scalability:

"at the moment, there is this huge XML file that has to be passed round which is here’s everybody that the UK Access Federation knows about" (information services staff)
The respondent also commented that there should be drop-in plug-ins for commonly deployed systems:
"[for example, for] IIS, for Apache and for Tomcat. So that it’s a simple drop in install for an ignorant webmaster, oh I run Apache, right, what do I do to get Shibboleth, well it should be double click on this." (information services staff)

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Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

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Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

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Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

| External bookmarks