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14 December 2010
TERENA’s two middleware-oriented task forces redefine work items

The TERENA Technical Committee recently approved revised terms of reference for TF-EMC2 (Task Force on European Middleware Coordination and Collaboration) and TF-MNM (Task Force on Mobility and Network Middleware) for an additional two year period. These changes are intended to sharpen the focus for each of TERENA’s two middleware-oriented task forces, creating clearer differentiation between their activities. TF-EMC2 will focus on middleware support for identity infrastructure and application interoperability and TF-MNM will strengthen its work on the adoption of mobile technologies.

Participants from both task forces will continue to collaborate with each other on specific mobility services and on activities that support infrastructure middleware.


Starting from September 2004, participants of TF-EMC2 have collaboratively developed several valuable activities ongoing today, such as REFEDS, which has evolved into a truly global group with an assertive plan. To strengthen TF-EMC2’s vision of supporting the development of open and interoperable middleware infrastructures in the research and education community, several changes were made to its work items for the next two years, including the addition of three new work items.

The new work item ‘academic data mobility’ aims to strengthen the task force’s existing technical liaisons with initiatives such as EUNIS’s Rome Student Systems and Standards Group (RS3G) and the European Association of International Education’s task force on Digital Student Data Portability. The ‘academic data mobility’ work item will also track home-grown, consortia and vendor systems for campus student information systems, focusing on data aggregation and mobility between compatible and competing systems. To help harmonise (open standards) interfaces between emerging collaboration platforms, virtual research environments, Grids, identity federations, services and instruments, the ‘service-oriented collaboration infrastructure’ work item has also been added to the task force’s terms of reference. New identity data exchange systems developed outside the academic community, such as social networks and governmental services, will be explored within the work item ‘alternative forms of expressing identity’.


The goal of TF-MNM is to promote the adoption of mobile technologies and network middleware to support interoperable roaming services. To this end, new work items will include an investigation of two-factor authentication and the integration of network middleware to support identity federations.

Recent developments in the application of technologies for Web Single Sign-On (WebSSO) for non-web use show a blurring of the border between WebSSO technologies (SAML, for example) and network middleware (Extensible Authentication Protocol, RADIUS, for example). Project Moonshot is a good example of this, as its goal is to apply the benefits of federated authentication for web-based services to other types of applications that are not web-based. A new work item in TF-MNM item will focus on enabling community contributions to initiatives like Project Moonshot. For this work item, strong collaboration with TF-EMC2 is envisioned.

Further information

The terms of reference for TF-EMC2 can be found on the task force website

The TF-MNM new terms of reference can be found here