Improving access to e-resources through federated identity

26 Aug 2011

Tigran Zakaryan, who attended the EuroCAMP Federated Identity Training for EIFL FOSS This summer EIFL-FOSS supported Tigran Zakaryan, EIFL-OA Coordinator from Electronic Library Consortium of Armenia (eLCA) to attend federated identity training in Istanbul, Turkey. The training was part of EuroCAMP (European Campus Architecture and Middleware Planning); attended by 20 delegates, all from countries where currently no identity federations are in operation.

Tigran will now be leading efforts at his institution (Institute of Radiophysics and Electronics in Armenia) to implement a federated identity service; facilitating discussions with colleagues from other institutions within the eLCA consortium; and writing a case study to be widely shared that will document his progress, the barriers encountered, the successes and the failures.

Federated identify simplifies access to e-resources for end users by providing them with one, secure login for many services (including e-learning and assessment systems and other institutional systems requiring a user login), as Tigran explains, "Identity service is very important for large organizations, as it allows access to integrated institutional services and information. It implies the proper management of authentication and authorization mechanisms in order to be most secure and effective in dynamic and changing environments.”

Tigran goes onto describe thTrainees learning about Federated Identity at the EuroCAMP training, Istanbule training, “The EuroCAMP training was three busy training days [which] allowed delegates to directly operate and configure open source software for authentication and authorization such as SimpleSAMLphp and Shibboleth. Of course, those results were achieved through the training efforts of highly qualified instructors such as Brook Schofield from TERENA, Benjamin Andersen from WAYF, Denmark, Bart Ophelders from K.U.Leuven, Belgium and Ian Barker from DANTE."

The materials and the virtual machines used during the EuroCAMP training will be revised, incorporating feedback from attendees and the trainers. These will be made available to attendees so that they can offer the same training event to their own community. EIFL FOSS and TERENA will ensure copies of these materials are available for any EIFL members who would like to use them. 

Training details

Trainees posing for a formal photograph of the group, EuroCAMP Federated Identity Training, Istanbul

The training covered practical information on the tools and skills necessary to deploy identity infrastructure in a library, campus or country, including how to conduct training about these topics in local communities.

Training was provided on the specific infrastructure needed for federated identity, including how to safely and securely expose the identities of user communities, how to offer and access services and resources in a federated community, and how to develop hub-and-spoke federated identity infrastructure that can scale from the campus to the country level. 

Participants completed a working implementation of a simpleSAMLphp Identity Provider, a Shibboleth Service Provider and a JANUS Metadata Registry, before being trained in how to deliver a successful training course themselves, focusing on the non-technical aspects of training such as presentation skills and how to create the right atmosphere.

More information

To learn more about future EuroCAMP training or workshops, please contact  Brook Schofield from TERENA.

See also the EIFL FOSS Federated identity webpage.

Read more about Building Federated Identity Infrastructure training.

Federated identity in Kyrgyzstan- with prior support from EIFL and TERENA the American University of Central Asia has also made progress towards implementing a federated identity service; see Sania Battalova’s (EIFL Country and FOSS Coordinator) recent presentation from the EIFL General Assembly, [Powerpoint]