February 2020 Newsletter

SeamlessAccess.org is a service designed to help streamline the online access experience for researchers using scholarly collaboration tools, information resources, and shared research infrastructure. This is the monthly update for February 2020 where we catch up on the latest activities within SeamlessAccess.org.

Upcoming Conference Sessions

NISO Plus (February 23-25, 2020)

Tim Lloyd (CEO, LibLynx) will offer an introduction to SeamlessAccess for those new to the service, and Ralph Youngen (Director, Publishing Systems Integration, American Chemical Society) and Lisa Hinchliffe (Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) will kick off a more in-depth conversation about SeamlessAccess and its implications in the research and library communities.

Community Engagement

The Entity Category and Attribute Bundle working group, a group of librarians, service providers, and federation operators, continues their efforts to define appropriate mechanisms around attribute release. Attributes are the information that an identity provider such as a library or research laboratory may share with a service provider, and can include signaling when no attributes at all should be released, when specific attributes should be optional, or when specific attributes are required. The group is currently working through various use cases to determine what makes sense and where the commonalities are when it comes to what attributes are required, and when. So far, the use cases suggest the need for two new categories:

  • An entity category to signal a common set of attributes when required by an SP.

  • A no-attribute tag, indicating no attributes at all should be released.

After this working group produces its recommendations, a new group that focuses on how to incorporate those recommendations into contracts will kick-off.

Outreach Survey

The SeamlessAccess Outreach Committee has created a survey to help us better understand how federated identity management is implemented at higher education institutions. The survey is available online and will remain open until 27 March 2020:


Website Update

A new and improved website for https://SeamlessAccess.org will be published later this month. We hope you will find it significantly easier to navigate! Feedback will be most welcome.

Advanced Integration for Service Providers

There are several levels of integration possible with the SeamlessAccess service:

  • Limited - lets you use the SeamlessAccess discovery service for users to find and sign into their preferred Identity Provider, but doesn’t integrate this service into your site
  • Standard - lets you use the SeamlessAccess service to display the button on your site, and use the SeamlessAccess discovery and persistence services as integrated components on your site
  • Advanced - provides you with the SeamlessAccess persistence service while giving you greater control over the appearance of the service on your site, and what Identity Providers (IdPs) you include in your discovery service

An email went out last month to all Advanced Integration service providers to offer some clarifications about this level of integration, based on what we’ve learned so far through the implementations during the beta phase. You can read that message here: https://seamlessaccess.org/general/2020/01/13/clarifications/.