Researchers and other library users want remote access to research materials. To access valuable password-protected resources — for instance online subscription based journals — users have to register.
To avoid needing new credentials 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 Authentication and Authorisation for Research and Collaboration (AARC) initiative was launched in May 2015 to address the increased need for federated access and for authentication and authorisation mechanisms by research and e-infrastructures.
A second phase of the project (AARC2) started in May 2017 to continue to develop and pilot an integrated cross-discipline authentication and authorisation framework, building on existing authentication and authorisation infrastructures (AAIs).
As part of the first phase of AARC, LIBER gathered contributions to a gap analysis and promoted federated identity management to the library community. LIBER also ran workshops to increase awareness and develop skills in the use of federated identity management.