A Day in the Logins for Life

Members of the project team met yesterday in the Templeman Library Hub to spend the whole day revising the work packages. This turned out to be a very useful exercise and left us all feeling ‘revitalised’.  We listed the milestones and firmed up our plans and schedule for the management of the Logins for Life project.

The discussions were wide ranging and although we didn’t have all the answers – yet – we did feel we at least knew what most of the questions were.

Logins for Life is exploring not only how HE organisations can maintain and manage a life long relationship, through a digital identity, with those who come in to contact with the organisation.  It is also about how access to on-line resources can be facilitated and simplified through the use of existing technologies such as social networking and account linking services. Obviously this raises many concerns including, but not limited to, safeguarding data, protecting privacy, security of systems and deciding on and implementing appropriate levels of assurance for different classes of user.  These are complex issues.

Logins for Life will engage with many stakeholders to help determine how to tackle these complex issues.

We compiled a list of departments, offices, facilities, partners etc and from there a list of known systems within the University and tried to rank them in order of how much Logins for Life could potentially affect them.   This led on to who we would need to talk to about each system and were there others out there that we had missed?

We  looked at what we hoped to gain from interviewing different classes of stakeholder and from there made a start on the questions we would ask. Although there will be some questions relevant to all interviewees there will also be questions specific to users and others specific to system owners. But which should come first ?- questions to the users or questions to the system owners as the former may feed in to the latter – or vice-versa.  We agreed that seeking help from the experts in the field, with framing the final questions would be a very good idea.

From these interviews we will develop use cases.

We listed existing authorisation technologies which would need to be evaluated eg OpenID, OAuth, MS Cardspace.

We talked about what a life long email facility would need to offer if users were going to continue to use it beyond their time as a student at Kent.

There were some big issues up for discussion too

  • do the users actually want what Logins for Life is offering?
  • what if the users want something that goes beyond what  system managers have hitherto been willing to offer?
  • how do we deal with users with multiple concurrent identities eg a student who is also on the staff

A good and productive day with an excellent view across East Kent from the Hub’s windows on a sunny but slightly hazy day   –  and doughnuts too!

Logins for Life workshop

With all members of the team now in place we held a workshop to share views on our understanding of the broad issues around identity management and how it is and should be implemented in higher education establishments and more particularly at the University of Kent.

Probably the most obvious insight to come out of this workshop was the need to schedule weekly workshops for the next month or so. While obviously extremely useful , this sort of forum does highlight just how  many issues need to be considered by the project team.

Areas discussed today included:

  • compiling a full list of categories of user who may come in to contact with Kent and whose needs should be considered.
  • sub-categories of users whose needs may be different eg academic and non-academic staff
  • HE establishment pre-requisites for adoption of Logins for Life
  • accepted current perception of the concept of identity and and how this could be improved
  • Incorporation of unique identifiers eg HUSID number, Unique Learner Number and etc
  • Linking identities and roles.

The workshop agreed that the JISC Identity Management Toolkit was a useful framework for the project.

Hmm hard to believe I used to be a photographer…..