The AAA programme is intended to address both the general needs for access management to electronic library materials and learning objects, and also the more specialised needs of the e-science research programme.

Authentication, Authorisation and Accounting programme

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Although many resources on the JANET network and the wider Internet are freely accessible, many of those of greatest interest are copyright material licensed from the rights holders, or are resources whose use needs to be controlled for other reasons. Managing access to such resources involves a number of processes, i.e.

  • authentication identifying the person requesting the access
  • authorisation determining from that person's identity, and often using other sources of information, what privileges the individual has and hence whether access should be allowed or not
  • accounting maintaining logs of events for the purpose of generating management information on resource usage

International standards in these areas are beginning to emerge and the JISC works actively with partner institutions in other countries to facilitate this development. The programme is designed to advance practical understanding of the latest developments in the UK academic and research community. It is intended to address both the general needs for access management to electronic library materials and learning objects, and also the more specialised needs of the e-science research programme.

Aims and objectives

The authentication part of the programme focuses on the deployment of digital certificates in typical institutional environments. Digital certificates are required as the means of authenticating individuals in e-science Grid projects and there are reasons for believing that they will become more widespread over time as strong authentication credentials. Programme objectives to be investigated by the projects include:

  • certificate profiling
  • life-cycle management of certificates, including revocation mechanisms
  • key recovery mechanisms
  • use of certificates on public-access workstations
  • user mobility (on and off campus)
  • "mixed economy" working, i.e. use of certificates alongside more traditional forms of electronic credentials
  • development of open source tools to facilitate deployment of certificates in typical university or college environments

Authorisation is a more complex problem and solutions to it are many and varied, some originating mainly from the electronic libraries world and others from the Grid or similar environments. The projects have been chosen to explore a number of emerging authorisation schemes, in order to decide whether any one single scheme is usable across a wide range of different environments or whether authorisation will always have to be specialised to the particular problem. Finally accounting is an area in which standards-based approaches are just beginning to emerge and the JISC aims to keep abreast of current developments.

Further information

Inital funding call
Project reports

Summary
Start date
1 October 2002
End date
31 December 2004
Topic
Strategic Themes