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10 September 2007
First steps towards inter-operable federations.
Participants at the First International Federation Peering Workshop in Prague, September 2007.

More than thirty technical and policy experts attended the First International Federation Peering Workshop that was held in Prague on September 3.

Participants from five continents explored the main drivers for creating identity federations in the academic community and discussed a range of policy issues relating to inter-operation of federations.

They established the terminology and concepts concerned, and agreed that the need to offer users access to shared resources is one of the main reasons why federations are necessary.

They debated how to handle the overlap between the public, business and social sectors, and how to deal with Levels of Assurance (LoA) when ‘crossing borders’ between federations.

The standards organisations Liberty Alliance and OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) have working groups examining how to liaise with government-centric identity initiatives, while the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and National Research and Education Network (NREN), JANET(UK), are undertaking a comparison of policies relating to LoAs.

Updates on these activities will be made at the next meeting, which is due to take place in mid-2008.

In the meantime, all participants agreed to do some ‘homework’, identifying major research projects in their region that need cross-federation connections.

More on REFEDs and the International Federation Peering Workshop.