Jul 152008

The imminent changes to authentication mechanisms across the UK tertiary education sector have implications for access to Digimap. A change of login credentials may mean that users are required to re-register with Digimap in order to continue accessing the service.

From 1 August 2008, access to Digimap will be via the UK federation only. This will mean that all subscribing institutions must offer their users access to Digimap through one of two methods:

1. using OpenAthens
2. via an in-house Shibboleth Identity Provider

Whichever method your institution chooses, one of the following re-registration consequences will apply:

  • Users who are already registered and continue to access Digimap through the OpenAthens service should not be required to re-register for Digimap.
  • Users who are already accessing Digimap using their institution’s in-house Shibboleth Identity Provider (i.e. are already registered with their Shibboleth credentials) will also not be required to re-register
  • Institutions moving from classic Athens or Athens DA authentication to using their own in-house Shibboleth Identity Provider should be prepared for all their Digimap users having to re-register.

This applies to all those Digimap Collections which require a secondary registration (currently Marine Digimap, Geology Digimap and Digimap’s Ordnance Survey Collection). Any change to an institutional login account will result in a requirement for users to re-register their new account details with Digimap. Indeed, those who have already made the transition from Athens to Shibboleth will already have undertaken this re-registration.

When users are issued with UK federation login credentials, they will need to register these new credentials with Digimap. However, this means that any personalisation (including data download histories for MasterMap Download) associated with their previous (Athens) accounts will not be accessible through their new account. To ease the transition process, EDINA has implemented a linking mechanism between existing Athens registrations and new Shibboleth registrations. This is a two-stage process:

Stage 1
The first stage is to collect some additional information from each user, in the form of a question and answer, while they are still accessing Digimap with their Athens-based login credentials. For example, the user may be asked “what is your favourite place?”, to which the reply might be “New York”. From the date of implementation of this facility, all Digimap users have been asked to complete this process when they log in. This additional step is only required once, not once per Collection, but must be completed before access can be gained to the service.

Stage 2
The second stage of the linking mechanism occurs when a user logs in with a new set of (UK federation-based) credentials which have not yet been registered with Digimap, and will only occur if the user has completed the first stage of the process with their previous account details. With these new credentials the user is guided through an abbreviated form of the Digimap registration process. If the details submitted by the user (surname and email address) match an existing set of details, the user will be asked to confirm the answer to their chosen question (as per stage one). Assuming the question is answered correctly, the two registration records will then be linked and any personalisation within Digimap will be available to the user under their new login credentials.

This process is not able to catch all new account holders, since it relies on users submitting a surname and email address for their new login credentials which are identical to those they submitted using their previous (Athens) credentials. For example, an email address submitted with Athens credentials as user@student.institution.ac.uk will not match an email address submitted with the same individual’s UK federation credentials as user@institution.ac.uk, even though both addresses may function, and may reach the same person. We also understand from our site representatives that some users don’t always spell their surnames the same way!

Those users who do not log in with their Athens accounts and complete stage one of this process will not be able to link their existing account to any new account. Such users will need to register their new UK federation accounts in the usual way, and will not be able to retain any personalisation which existed with their previous account. Those users who already have both Athens and UK federation accounts registered with Digimap will not be able to link personalisation information between the two. However, logging in with a new Shibboleth account will allow users to link to a previous Shibboleth account.

This information has previously been published in EDINA Newsline (June 2008). An email with this information was also sent to all users on 12 June 2008.

 15 July, 2008  Posted by at 3:10 pm Access Tagged with: , ,

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