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Information Services currently maintain separate ATHENS usernames and passwords for all students by automatically generating bulk upload requests from our user registration database. We had been looking to use the ATHENS devolved authentication mechanism to enable staff and students to use their local (eDirectory) usernames, but are now planning to use Shibboleth for this instead. This would make life easier for our staff and students, as they would not need to keep track of separate usernames and passwords, and decrease the risk of misuse of ATHENS resources. For Information Services, it would remove the need to maintain the hand-crafted code required for bulk uploading at the, hopefully lesser, cost of deploying the Eduserv implementation of Shibboleth Origin, with assistance as required from the Middleware Assisted Takeup Service. It will also give us experience of using Shibboleth, which is seen as an emerging standard for authentication and authorisation. In outline, the plan is to deploy the Eduserv implementation of Shibboleth Origin, with assistance as required from the Middleware Assisted Takeup Service, to provide authentication and authorisation attributes from our eDirectory, with a view to rolling this out for first year students and new staff in September 2005. If successful, we will look at the issues involved in getting staff and students with existing ATHENS usernames to change to using their local ones, and at providing single sign-on to ATHENS resources from our portal. We will document and disseminate our experience in a case study and present it to at least the EMUIT forum. Project start date: 2005-04-01. Project end date: 2006-03-31. (Excerpt from this source)
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South African Repositories: Bridging Knowledge Divides