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!

New team member

After ten days on board, I thought it might be time to introduce myself. I am Leo Lyons, new member of the Logins4Life team and I will be based in the Cornwallis South building here at Kent for a year.

At the moment I am still immersed in the assimilation process. Pleased to be picking up plenty of hints from papers already published – what’s been done, what not to do and who to talk to. Plan is to make sure I know what I am talking about on the current state of ID management and single sign on  (OpenID, Shibboleth and other methods) and then come and talk to a lot of people out there to see if we can identify improvements and avoid the pitfalls.

Scope creep: stopping it before it starts

This morning we spent some time talking through the different levels to which the concept of a “Login” could be applied from

  • organisation: this could be a school, college or university
  • sector: HE, FE… education in general
  • public life: including such services as the NHS or Inland Revenue
  • private life: Facebook? Twitter? Google Mail?
  • the utopian view of identity where every person has only one and everything just works off that 🙂

Where to draw this line is obviously a very important decision and one we’ve not yet made. I have a feeling that we’re going to be using the expression “in an ideal world” an awful lot…

We discussed a lot more about the fleshing out the work-packages in the project and where to drop particular tasks into place as well as going over all the intricacies of how to manage identity within an organisation — more on that later…


Welcome to the Logins for life project blog!

The Logins for Life (L4L) project is a 15 month project from January 2010 – March 2011 which is part of the Access and Identity Management Programme funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).

The project documents such as the project plan and JISC reports will be published on http://www.kent.ac.uk/is/projects/loginsforlife/index.html.