On 30 November 2006 UKERNA will launch a new Federated Access Management Service for schools, further and higher education and research organisations in the UK. The Federation will help standardise access to online learning materials through the use of a common system, which will facilitate collaboration across the education sector.
The Federation uses the standards-based Shibboleth software, developed by the Internet 2 community in the United States. Shibboleth defines a common framework for access management that is being adopted by education communities across the globe. This technology is able to protect the identity of the individual from the resource they are accessing and thereby provide increased privacy for users.
There are many providers of online learning material to the education sector in the UK, each with their own method of controlling access to their services. In practice students and staff often have to remember a number of different usernames and passwords. By joining the UK Federation staff and students will only require a single username and password
to access all online learning materials from providers who have joined the federation.
A consultation exercise is running until 26 October
to give participants the opportunity to offer feedback on the proposed technical and policy framework that comprise the Federation. Go to http://www.ukfederation.org.uk/ConsultationDocumentation.html
Further information on federated access management is available on the UK Federation home page at http://www.ukfederation.org.uk