January 2022 Newsletter


SeamlessAccess was included in two webinars back in December:

  • 8 Dec: STM Solutions Seminar, featuring a presentation by Matthew Keen (IOP Publishing) on SeamlessAccess
  • 14 Dec: Atypon webinar, featuring Heather Staines talking about SeamlessAccess (amongst other topics)

Looking ahead, the SeamlessAccess team is planning a new integrator workshop as well as continuing our series of SeamlessAccess for scholarly publishers - stay tuned!

REFEDS Entity Categories

The REFEDS community is currently working through existing Entity Categories, two of which having been originally proposed by the SeamlessAccess Entity Category Working Group, to bring them up to the necessary precision for this type of specification. These specifications must be very specific and targeted in scope, describing exactly what data attributes are to be released when these Entity Categories are used. The question of how and when a service provider should use these attributes, however, is out of scope for a specification.

Entity Categories are important because they make the process of attribute release much easier to manage. They help match the data and privacy requirements of the Identity Provider with the requirements of the service itself. They also allow administrators of identity management systems to have easy-to-use configuration guidance that supports appropriate information sharing between parties. Entity Categories also offer business units within the institution the opportunity to refer to these descriptions in their contractual language with Service Providers.

All changes ultimately must be approved by the community. If you would like to stay abreast of public consultation announcements for these and other REFEDS specifications, please join the REFEDS consultation mailing list.

Approach towards refreshing local browser storage

We are happy to announce that, with the next release, SeamlessAccess’ central discovery service will start to refresh information kept in the user’s browser local store.

SeamlessAccess is all about making the login experience as intuitive, easy, fast and stable as possible. To realize this, SeamlessAccess maintains a searchable database of metadata about Identity Providers (IdP’s), and stores that metadata for often-used IdP’s in the user’s browser local storage. Thanks to this persistence mechanism, SeamlessAccess can display the user’s IdP preferences without having to communicate with a central infrastructure - making the system both robust and fast.

While information about IdP’s does not change very often, changes do occasionally occur and SeamlessAccess has been working on a way to keep this information up to date. Because of the distributed nature of how metadata is stored in each browser, this is actually not a straightforward problem for SeamlessAccess to solve!

The next release will offer a first step towards solving this challenge. In future releases, we will also start to clear out IdP metadata that cannot be refreshed or that has been deleted from the metadata service. We will be working with advanced integrators to plan for this change in order to make sure users are not affected in a negative way.

Welcoming Wendy Shamier

Wendy Shamier has joined the SeamlessAccess team as Business Development Manager this January. She will be focusing on business aspects of SeamlessAccess’ transition from the current beta phase to a fully production-level service, including the development of a sustainability plan and a pricing model. She will also work closely with other SeamlessAccess staff on defining and developing processes for full life-cycle customer engagement.

Wendy has a background in IT consulting, most recently as Service Level Manager and Research IT advisor for SURF, the collaborative organization for information and communication technologies in Dutch education and research. In addition to this she has a decade of experience in academic publishing, working as a Publisher for Brill and Elsevier. Wendy is based in Amsterdam and can be contacted at wendy@stm-solutions.org.

Lead UX designer vacancy

SeamlessAccess is looking for a strategically minded senior UX practitioner to join our team!

Are you interested in taking a lead role to provide design guidance and help SeamlessAccess deliver a streamlined access experience for researchers around the globe? Check out the job description on our vacancies page.

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 service is 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, identity providers, and federation operators. We’re excited to bring you up to date on the latest news.