The Middleware and Shared Services Studies have been specifically commissioned to address key issues and gaps identified by previous JISC development work within the AAA and Shared Services Programmes.

Core Middleware and Shared Services Studies

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The Middleware and Shared Services studies were specifically commissioned to address key issues and gaps identified by previous JISC development work within the AAA and Shared Services programmes. The six studies will be made publicly available to inform the community of development within these key areas. The work will also inform future development work within the JISC, such as the call for Core Middleware.

The final reports from these studies are now available and feedback is welcome from the community. Please contact Nicole Harris if you would like to comment on any part of these reports, particularly the recommendations made. 

Digital Rights Management study Intrallect Ltd
This study will examine the issues affecting digital rights management (DRM) in the UK HE and FE communities. It will consider all aspects of DRM including recognition, assertion, expression, dissemination, exposure and enforcement of rights. The focus will be on the JISC Information Environment and e-Learning Framework but will take account of the many dimensions define these environments:

  • activities
  • resources
  • the law
  • technology
  • preservation
  • architectures
  • licences

In addition, the study will consider personal and cultural issues and examine related projects. Current work in standards bodies (IEEE and CEN/ISSS) will also be included.

There is a consultaltive period until 8 October 2004 during which comments on the final report are invited. Please send individual comments to or, if you would like to raise topics for discussion, send them to the DRM mailing list (

Institutional Profiling and Terms and Conditions study [PDF] EDINA
This proposed study considers the functional requirements for an Institutional Profiling and a Terms & Conditions service, which have been proposed as shared services components of the JISC Information Environment. The study will consider these services in the context of their interaction with existing service components, and will examine factors relevant to their practical implementation.

In broad terms there are two areas of potential application: a register of information on institutional services that may be accessed externally (such as for LDAP or OPAC lookup); and a repository of institutional licence data that may be used by OpenURL resolvers to locate the 'appropriate copy', and by local subscriptions management software.

Evaluation of single sign-on technologies [PDF] University of Edinburgh
The pressure to enable single sign on solutions within institutions is growing.  Although a general solution is desired that would enable a single sign-on to both web based applications and to other non web based applications  this would not seem to be attainable at the current state of technologies.  However, there are a number of technologies which claim to support single sign-on to web applications that have been designed to operate mainly in a single institution environment.  At the present time, an IT Manager has a difficult choice between these technologies as comparative information is lacking.

This project will mount a total of four of these technologies, Washington PubcookieYale CASStanford WebAuth and Michigan Cosign.  An evaluation will be made  on the ease of deployment, its ease of use and the security of the models employed by looking for vulnerabilities in the actual design or implementation. A detailed report will be generated to enable the community, in particular at the IT manager level to be able to make an informed judgement as to which technology would suit his/her institution and the time and effort required to implement it.

Feasibility study for a JISC national certificate issuing service [PDF] EDINA
This study considers the feasibility of creating a national service for the issue of digital certificates to staff and students in HE and FE. It complements earlier work undertaken by EDINA and its associate partners to investigate authentication based on the use of X.509 digital certificates within a Public Key Infrastructure model for the UK academic community (ac-PKI).
One broad conclusion of this earlier work was that the open source solution was insufficiently mature to provide a reliable and cost-effective service (especially so in the institutional context). A consequent recommendation was for evaluation of commercial PKI products to determine the relative costs and effectiveness of insourced (software only), or outsourced (fully managed service) solutions. This evaluation is the purpose of the present study.

Full report Policy creation tools for the PERMIS authorisation framework [PDF] University of Salford
PERMIS is part of the US NMI portfolio of middleware software. It is also being developed as a Grid authorisation service, and is currently having a SAML interface added to it for this purpose. PERMIS has been shown to be portable and easy to install and use according to the documented cookbooks [1]. However, one of the impediments to widespread operational use of PERMIS is the lack of a generally accessible management tool, which could be used by people with a moderate level of security knowledge and technical expertise, to create PERMIS XML policies. This project will produce an open source, internationalised, user friendly, PERMIS Authorisation Policy Creation Tool, written in Java, that will become part of the US NMI release. The software will be accompanied by full documentation and installation instructions, and after release will be provided with six months support to the international community.

UK assessment of eduPerson and related schemas [PDF] London School of Economics
This study will carry out a consultation with Internet2 and other non-UK national bodies to assess strengths and weaknesses of similar ‘xxEduPerson’ schemas already in use. This will include:

  • information gathering from HE and FE institutions (via existing networks and LSE contacts) and from up to 16 London Secondary schools (via the LSE Saturday Schools Programme) to identify relevant institutional initiatives, and to determine common and sector-specific requirements for a potential ‘lifelong learning’ schema compatible with current DfES initiatives
  • production of a report detailing the current state-of-the-art in UK and globally, and future development recommendations, including technical, organisational and cost implications
  • production of supporting material to summarise appropriate aspects of the full study report and facilitate presentation of these issues to JISC committees and institutional decision-makers
  • experimental implementation of one or more possible draft ‘ukEduPerson’ schemas (using facilities established for the JISC SECURe project) for demonstration purposes
  • Full report [PDF]


Joint programme meeting July 2004, Brighton

Documents & Multimedia

Strategic Themes