Remote access to online resources is a strong requirement from researchers and other library users. But in order to access valuable password-protected resources — for instance online subscription based journals — users have to register. Rather than requiring to register a new username and password for each individual web application, academic users should be able to login with their existing institutional credentials.
To achieve this, user databases from universities and academic institutions have to be connected to password-protected web applications. This connection is based on mutual trust. First, the user logs in at the home institution (which checks the validity of the password). Then, a signal is sent to the protected website that the user is trustworthy.
These trust networks (identity federations) already exist, but mostly on a national level. There is a strong need to further expand this network of trust on the international and interdisciplinary level. To make this happen, the interoperability of existing Authentication and Authorisation Infrastructures (AAI) for Research and Education needs to be improved.
The AARC project will address the technical and functional gaps that prevent this interoperability at the moment. AARC’s objectives are to deliver the design of an integrated cross-discipline AAI framework, built on federated access production services (e.g. eduGAIN) and to increase the uptake of federated access within different research communities.
LIBER’s role in this project will be to gather contributions to a gap analysis and to promote federated identity management to the library community. LIBER will also run workshops to increase awareness and develop skills in the use of federated identity management.
LIBER’s involvement in the AARC project falls under LIBER’s strategic Key Performance Area (KPA): Reshaping the Research Library and is closely connected to the Scholarly Communication & Research Infrastructures KPA.