Subject RE: Comparison of eP(S)A values
From "Andrew Cormack" <Andrew.Cormack@xxxxxx>
Date Tue, 22 Sep 2009 10:12:26 +0100


[Could one of you forward this to MACE-DIR, if appropriate, since I'm
pretty sure it'll reject my attempt to post there?]

Many thanks for the feedback and for giving it time on the MACE-DIR
agenda. All suggestions, corrections and comments very welcome. I'm
planning on producing a final version of the paper after the Refeds
meeting in Rome on the 20-somethingth of October (that meeting should
also produce some slides to accompany the paper). Comments in-line

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Keith Hazelton [mailto:hazelton@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
> Sent: 21 September 2009 20:49
> To: refeds@xxxxxxxxxx
> Cc: Andrew Cormack; Mikael Linden; mace-dir
> Subject: Re: [refeds] Comparison of eP(S)A values
> We'll be talking over this usage comparison doc on today's MACE-Dir
> call.
> Please consider the following an historical note:
> The value "employee" was included in the controlled vocabulary for
> eP*A since the first release of eduPerson (1.0, Feb., 2001).  I have
> distinct memories (but no documents) that we included that
> specifically to cover the UK case where teachers, researchers and
> other workers are lumped under a single term.  "Employee" was
> intended to serve as this single term.  Unfortunately this intended
> usage was never made explicit in the eduPerson specification.
> According to Andrew and Mikael's usage comparison, the UK term of
> preference would be "staff" rather than "employee."

Indeed it seems we latched onto "staff" as having that meaning, whereas
everyone else followed the US in using that for "non-faculty-workers"
and either used "employee" more or less as intended or ignored the
category. Sigh, especially if the whole reason for creating it was to
meet the UK requirements :-(
> I bring this up only because the proposed definition in the REFEDS
> document is "staff" are "workers other than teachers or
> researchers."  This would seem to go against UK Access Management
> Federation usage.  Is this particular category of affiliation worth
> further discussion?

Indeed it is the reverse of our current usage, but it seems to be what
everyone else uses it for, so I felt the document should go with the

I've suggested internally that we have a think about how much pain would
be caused for UK federation IdPs if we were to ask them to swap over the
terms, and for SPs in coping with a period of transition where the
meanings of both "staff" and "employee" will depend on whether or not
the IdP concerned has switched. I'm hoping that not too many SPs have
decided to use that value in their authorisation decisions so that only
a few are affected and we can persuade them that it's not disastrous.

Overall I'm viewing "staff" as a problem that only requires us to change
to fix it, whereas the use of "employee" is much more varied so if we
want to standardise it then several federations will need to change
their current practice.

Best wishes

>                --Keith

Andrew Cormack, Chief Regulatory Adviser
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