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Reid Kerr College currently employs a diverse range of authentication methods for access to systems and resources, both internal and external. This includes Active Directory, Athens and various custom and application-specific authentication schemes. Increasingly, the lack of sustainability of such an approach is becoming apparent, both from the point of view of the user who is expected to manage up to 6 different accounts, and the administration staff who must create and administer these accounts. There is evidence to suggest that this is hampering the use of Athens-controlled resources, and that staff and students would be more likely to access these resources if they could use their network login.

FEAR: Further Education Access to Resources

Reid Kerr College currently employs a diverse range of authentication methods for access to systems and resources, both internal and external. This includes Active Directory, Athens and various custom and application-specific authentication schemes. Increasingly, the lack of sustainability of such an approach is becoming apparent, both from the point of view of the user who is expected to manage up to 6 different accounts, and the administration staff who must create and administer these accounts. There is evidence to suggest that this is hampering the use of Athens-controlled resources, and that staff and students would be more likely to access these resources if they could use their network login.

Aims and Objectives

The primary aim of the project is to prove that Shibboleth can be implemented by a relatively small institution using in-house expertise. While in large institutions like universities deployment of an enterprise-grade ICT solution will often be carried out by a specialist team, in FE colleges it will normally be carried out by existing staff, often without formal external support. If Shibboleth is to be adopted by the FE sector it must be demonstrated that deployment and support is within the in-house capabilities of individual colleges. This project will provide a practical demonstration and case study detailing the implementation process and describing any difficulties faced.

The specific objectives are to:

  • Implement a Shibboleth Identity
  • Implement a Shibboleth Service Provider
  • Produce a case study
  • Produce an FE Implementation Guide

Project Methodology

The project will install Shibboleth IdP and Service Provider software on Windows 2000 or 2003 servers, if practical. The IdP will use the college’s central Active Directory server for both authentication and as an attribute store. The college document management system will also be made available outside the college via Shibboleth.

Implications / Deliverables / Stakeholders

Removing the existing authentication layer from resource usage will allow staff and students easier access to subscribed resources. It is anticipated that this may have an impact on information literacy, which is an acknowledged problem within Further Education.

Summary
End date
29 November 2005
Funding programme
Core Middleware Infrastructure programme
Project website
Topic