February 2021 Newsletter

SeamlessAccess is a service designed to help streamline the online access experience for researchers using scholarly collaboration tools, information resources, and shared research infrastructure. We’re back from a short hiatus in newsletter writing, and the last few months have seen quite a bit of work happening within SeamlessAccess and in the broader federated identity community! We’re excited to bring you up to date on the latest news.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events The NISO Plus conference is happening this week, February 22-25, and SeamlessAccess is on the agenda! Come join us on Monday, February 24 for an Introduction to SeamlessAccess as well as a more in-depth conversation, SeamlessAccess - a Conversation between Service Providers and Librarians. Registration is available here: https://niso.plus/register-for-niso-plus-2021/

And on March 27, the STM Association’s Society Day will include a session on SeamlessAccess and GetFTR. See more information on the meeting website: https://www.stm-assoc.org/events/stm-spring-conference-society-day-2021/

Call for Participation: WAYF Entry Disambiguation Working Group

SeamlessAccess focuses on the Where-Are-You-From (WAYF) aspect of the Federated Identity Management (FIM) workflow. The metadata that sources the list of Identity Providers (IdPs) to users is often aggregated from several sources in order to get the broadest list possible. While providing the user as much choice in IdPs as possible is usually a good thing, we are seeing significant confusion when an institution has two IdPs with the same Display Name. Most commonly to date, this is found when an institution has a campus IdP and a library-specific IdP service (although this issue could arise with any organization where multiple IdPs might be implemented).

For example: WAYF disambiguation example

From the user’s perspective, these are the same. From a technical perspective, however, these are different. One point to ‘https://login.bc.edu/idp/shibboleth' and the other points to ‘https://idp.bc.edu/openathens'. We are beginning to see this area of potential confusion more frequently, and the above example is just the first that we identified.

This problem touches on every stakeholder in the FIM workflow, from the end users, the librarians, the service providers, the identity providers, and the federations. SeamlessAccess is in a good position to bridge all these groups, and to that end we are forming a new working group to specifically look at this problem and come up with some best practice guidelines. If you are interested in participating, please reach out to contact@seamlessaccess.org to get involved!

#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 four organizations: GÉANT, Internet2, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), and the International Association of STM Publishers. Participants include researchers, service providers, libraries and identity providers and federation operators, vendors, publishers.