June 2020 Newsletter

Extension of the Beta Phase

With so many communities learning new ways to function, the governance committee for SeamlessAccess has made the decision to extend the beta period for SeamlessAccess through at least the end of this calendar year. This will allow us to continue to consult with our stakeholder communities on what’s working, and what isn’t, before we announce this as a full production service.

Learning Videos

The SeamlessAccess Outreach Committee has kicked off a video series designed to explain some of the details of federated identity to the world. ‘How Federated Authentication Works’ and ‘Privacy and Attributes’ are available on the new SeamlessAccess YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHVM4zXwtO3mKgGxBAwVVaQ. Future videos will include explanations on how SeamlessAccess works, from the user, service provider, and library perspectives, as well as an explanation around the challenges of IP address authorization.

Outreach Survey

Last month, the SeamlessAccess outreach committee sent out a survey to campus libraries and IT support teams to gain a better understanding of the technical environment in which they work. A working group continues to analyze the survey results, and intends to have a report posted on the SeamlessAccess blog by the end of June 2020.

Community Engagement

The Entity Categories and Attribute Bundles Working Group is wrapping up its recommendations for three new entity categories. The goal of these entity categories is to help ease the burden of configuration on the part of the Identity Providers; ultimately, it is the Identity Provider that will decide whether or not to support these entity categories in their systems. The current list is:

  • Authentication Only - this use case covers authentication only; the Service Provider does not want any attributes from the Identity Provider
  • Anonymous Authorization - this use case supports authorization in addition to authentication while keeping the user completely anonymous to the Service Provider
  • Pseudonymous Authorization- this use case supports authentication, authorization, and allows for personalization per SP

All proposed entity categories will go through a public comment process, and will ultimately feed into a new working group that will focus specifically on appropriate contract language to define the terms of attribute release between a library and a publisher. A notice will be sent to this announce list and through social media when the public comment period starts with information on how to review the entity categories.

Monitoring the Services

The availability of the SeamlessAccess services is publicly viewable at https://status.seamlessaccess.org. You can sign up for alerts for outages or to be notified when software updates are made to the services.

SeamlessAccess.org is a service, governed as a coalition between five organizations: GÉANT, Internet2, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), ORCID, and the International Association of STM Publishers. Participants include researchers, service providers, libraries and identity providers and federation operators, vendors, publishers.