Library services, databases and academic content providers still use IP addresses (and often IPv4 only) for mapping "users" (network addresses, really) to contracts. There is little we can do today to change this other than to engage with every publisher on the planet to request and help them with integrating identity federation technology. All content providers are encouraged to (and in many cases already do) base authorization of individuals accessing their resources on attributes (i.e., data about the subject or her institution) transmitted via identity federation protocols (today SAML 2).
In most cases the only information required by a content provider will be an attribute detailing whether an individual is covered by an existing contract. (Sometimes an identifier unique to the subject will also be required and will allow the service provider to add personalized services, e.g. storing of search results or documents).
The absence of such authorization data in a response from the issuer (i.e., the Identity Provider) of course means that according to the issuer the subject requesting access is not entitled to access the resource.
The eduPerson specification has defined the generic attribute eduPersonEntitlement to communicate entitlements, permissions or rights between entities. For the specific case of library services MACE-Dir has then defined a standard eduPersonEntitlement attribute value (see below for details). This is the only attribute (other than maybe a unique identifier) library services will generally need, as such no more data should be sent from the Identity Provider:
Here's the current common-lib-terms specification.
|"Friendly" attribute name||Formal SAML2 attribute name (on-the-wire)||Attribute value string|
NameFormat (what format is the formal attribute name in) is always "
urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:attrname-format:uri". For legacy services still using the SAML1.x protocol the formal attribute name is "
urn:mace:dir:attribute-def:eduPersonEntitlement" (instead of urn:oid:220.127.116.11.4.1.5918.104.22.168.7). See https://eduid.at/entities/sp and "mouse-over" the requested attribute's name to find out its formal name for a given service, if in doubt.
Shibboleth IDP Configuration
To add support for this SAML attribute to your Shibboleth IDP 3.x you'll need to adapt the configuration files
attribute-resolver.xml (to generate the attribute) and
attribute-filter.xml (to release the attribute).
Define the attribute
See our IDP 3 Attribute resolution documentation for a simple example of how to generate and assign the common-lib-terms entitlement based on eduPersonAffiliation values.
Release the attribute
The most explicit way of releasing this attribute (value) is by listing all relevant (to you) library service providers by name, i.e., referencing their entityID. See https://eduid.at/entities/sp (or https://eduid.at/entities/sp/interfed for Interfederation particpants) for a current list of Service Providers, their entityID and Requested Attributes. (For SPs known via Interfederation any Requested Attributes are managed and accounted for by their respective Home Federation, not by ACOnet. Also note that not all uses of
eduPersonEntitlement you'll encouter are specific to this attribute value, i.e., specific to library services.)
Even though we try to keep the rules on this page up-to-date and fully functional, they are meant as examples that will likely also include services your institution does not have a contract/subscription with (or might be missing ones you do). No problems should result from including more services here than you have access to, though, as these services require contracts (and usually payment) in order to provide access, so sending the right SAML attributes is a necessary pre-condition but not sufficient alone.
And another example specific to those library SPs that do not support the standard "common-lib-terms" entitlement and instead rely on eduPersonScopedAffiliation values. What affiliation values (student, faculty, staff, member, etc.) should be entitled to access licensed resources in each case cannot be known a priori – usually each institution's librarians need to decide and can configure authorized affiliation values in a self-service web interface provided by the publisher/e-resource provider. If in doubt ask the service provider and/or discuss with the eduID.at community.
We'd prefer the number of library services using eduPerson(Scoped)Affiliation to be zero, since using the "common-lib-terms" eduPersonEntitlement is advantageous for eveyone involved: the SP, the IDP and the federation operator (or federation operators, globally). So the services listed below are where we (as an academic community) failed to communicate those benefits cleary and consistently (or it just fell on deaf ears) – with the exception of a handful of SPs that treat different populations differently and therefore require affiliation attributes.
Having a Service Category defined for Library Services might help managing the release policies in a more consistent and less implementation-specific way. Discussion and proposals for that sometimes appear and ACOnet is actively contributing to further developments in that space. As always, please discuss and share examples with the community.