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6 December 2010
EuroCAMP calls for interoperable identity management services to reduce duplicated community efforts
Niels van Dijk (SURFnet) presented the work of project COIN at EuroCAMP Vienna, 23-24 November 2010

SURFnet’s project COIN, Internet2’s COmanage and SWITCH's Combo were presented as contenders to solve the group management and attribute enrichment issues confronting organisations deploying identity management systems, at the EuroCAMP workshop in Vienna, Austria on 23-24 November. Participants discussed collaboration as a means of solving the hurdles of 'domestication' that face institutions seeking interoperability of their campus systems and services.

The EuroCAMP workshop provided a forum to share ideas and requirements for future identity management systems and services and to influence the direction of community software roadmaps targeting campuses. It became clear throughout the event that organisations in the research and education community still struggle with cooperating on similar issues - representatives talked about needing federation support for their applications, yet they were unaware of each other's similar problems and solutions for the same applications. The workshop concluded that it would be far more beneficial to pool resources to solve interoperability issues than to duplicate work.

To that end, participants learned about the new ‘Domestication Wiki’, a community-maintained repository for information on the domestication of applications. The wiki contains information on the availability and domestication level of various software packages and services. Domesticated applications are advantageous, because they enable single-sign-on features for users, as well as the ability to share group context between multiple applications. From a service provider's point of view, externalising identity and group management eases the burden of maintaining account data.

Niels van Dijk (SURFnet) presented the work of project COIN (COllaboration INfrastructure), a collaborative effort between SURFnet and the higher education and research sector to develop an infrastructure based on open standards that will allow applications and systems to share information online. The infrastructure will link collaboration services set up by educational institutions, research organisations, commercial parties and SURFnet enabling them to interact, and thereby making custom, flexible online collaboration possible. The aim is to develop a set of online tools that users can combine into a collaboration environment suitable for their needs.

Virtual Organisations (VO) enable collaboration between different federated organisations, allowing a group of individuals from different organisations to share common resources, such as enabling a group of researchers to work together on a research project on the same wiki. Participating federations need to externalise certain identity management functions, which are then shared and managed within the VO. Lukas Hämmerle (SWITCH) gave a status update of the SWITCH VO Platform, also known as "Combo", which started its public pilot in October for SWITCHaai. SWITCH is continuing development of the code, with code reviews planned in January and February and production service starting in March 2011. Benn Oshrin (Internet2) provided an overview of the COmanage project, an effort by the Internet2 Middleware Initiative to develop a set of capabilities that allow collaborative organisations (COs) to meet their objectives using collaboration tools in a secure and effective framework. He also demonstrated the project’s new user interface workflows for interacting with the system.

Participants also learned about OneSocialWeb, an initiative of Vodafone Group Research and Development to create a free, decentralised social network platform. Part of this effort entails defining the language to bridge social networks since there is currently no common way to describe rich social interactions, which leads to proprietary data models that are difficult to share across environments.

Further information

EuroCAMP website. Vienna workshop programme and presentations.

Website of TERENA's Task Force on European Middleware Coordination and Collaboration (TF-EMC2).