AIM Programme – Timeline

This post gives an overview of all the projects funded under the AIM Programme. It covers AIM-related projects funded just before the AIM programme started and the work that will continue now that the programme has ended. This timeline covers  AIM work during my time at Jisc, from February 2009 to February 2014.

The Jisc funded AIM Programme ran from 1 January 2009 to 31 March 2011. Although the original funding phase completed by 31 March 2011, further funding was available for certain AIM projects to continue beyond this date. Jisc continued to be committed to resolving the many issues within AIM and funded further work under Digital Directions: AIM programme. This included four projects as part of the AIM strand within the larger 16/11 Digital Infrastructure call and four projects as part of the 01/12 Digital Infrastructure call. These calls funded projects in the areas of Future Directions and Raptor evaluation.

Pre-AIM Programme

Before the Access and Identity Management programme started a number of projects related to AIM were funded under other programmes, for example the e-Infrastructure Security programme. The following is a list of AIM related projects:

AGAST
ASPIS
CUCKOO
GFIVO
iREAD
SARoNGS
Shintau
SPIDER
VPMAN
ES-LoA
Review of OpenID
Identity Project

Identity Management Toolkit

The AIM programme’s first funded project was the Identity Management Toolkit (funded from January 2009 till June 2010), which was produced to help institutions deal with the issues surrounding identity management. The work undertaken by the developers of the Toolkit, and the feedback by people involved with Identity Management within institutions, has highlighted that very few institutions have efficient Identity Management processes in place. Institutions often don’t put in the investment into improving these, despite the cost savings and efficiency improvements involved.

Identity Management Toolkit Pilot Projects

The Toolkit was piloted in two institutions – Imperial College and the UK Data Archive. Both projects undertook an audit and gap analysis and their recommendations were feed into a review of the Toolkit (in 2012). Both the pilot projects and the review satisfied the objective of raising the perception of Identity Management within institutions and helping them to implement better processes and policies.

Identity Management Toolkit Review

At the end of the Identity Management project the governance group agreed that after November 2011 the Toolkit should be reviewed and updated where necessary. The review ran from February to July 2012. The project was led by Bristol University using the original toolkit developers, who were now no longer employed by LSE. The review incorporated the recommendations from the two pilot projects, a review of the whole toolkit and updates to the toolkit where necessary. During the Identity project, which ran before the toolkit project, a survey of the state of identity management in institutions was undertaken. This review also included an updated survey, providing a comparison between the state of identity management within institutions then and now and whether there has been any impact from the Toolkit. The Toolkit was converted to an infokit with the help of Infonet.

08/09 Call – Innovation

As well as the Identity Management Toolkit the AIM programme funded the following projects (as part of the 08/09 call):

Proxy Credential Auditing Infrastructure for the UK e-Science National Grid Service
eCert
GRAND
Identity & access management using social networking technologies
Logins4Life
RAPTOR
SMART
SOFA
WSTIERIA

08/09 Follow-on funded projects

The AIM programme continued to fund projects that looked at:

  • Embedding AIM solutions within institutions.
  • Taking the outputs of the AIM programme, or other relevant work, and making them more useable and embed them within the community.
  • Raising the public perception of AIM within HFE, highlighting the importance in having the correct processes and policies in place and how these lead to improvements in efficiencies and effectiveness and reduced costs.
  • Highlighting AIM issues across other Jisc programmes.

Of the 08/09 projects, SMART and RAPTOR received follow-on funding, particularly to standardise their work. RAPTOR also aimed to establish a small community of users. This follow-on funding extended SMART to 31/08/2011 and RAPTOR to 30/11/2011.

16/11 Call – Embedding and Community Building

The AIM Programme strand within the 16/11 Digital Infrastructure Call looked to fund projects that could embed AIM related outputs and help to build communities using these tools, or tools/outputs from non-Jisc funded work. The following four projects were funded under this call and ran from 1 February to 31 July 2012:

CONSENT (Communities on NGS viaSARONGS ENabled Trust)
RAPID (RAPTOR Informing Decisions)
Supporting Institutional Access to External Services
SMART Deployment: Student-Managed Access to Online Resources Deployment

01/12 Call – Raptor pilots and new/emerging technologies

The AIM Programme strand within the 01/12 Digital Infrastructure Call funded projects that looked at new and emerging technologies, solutions and trends in Access and Identity management. The following four projects were funded under this call and were the final projects funded by the AIM Programme. They ran from June 2012 to May 2013:

ARK
KITE
Linkey
Raptor-JUse

Shibboleth Consortium

Support of Shibboleth moved from Internet2 to the Shibboleth Consortium (jointly funded by Internet2, Janet and SWITCH), which Jisc supported financially through the AIM Programme from 2010 to 2013. This was a transition stage as the Consortium became sustainable through membership funding and sponsorship. Funding of the Consortium continues but not through the AIM Programme.

The Shibboleth Consortium was formally launched with the ratification and signing of its Charter by Internet2, Janet and SWITCH in May 2013. This signing extended the commitment of National Research and Education Networks in the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland to the continued development of the Shibboleth software, as well as promoting its adoption globally. A copy of the full charter is available at https://shibboleth.net/consortium/documents.html

Other Projects

WAYFLess URL Generator (WUGEN)

Following the recommendations of the Janet Web Portal Working Group, this 3 month project was funded from August till November 2011. Although it was funded through Janet it was produced by Cardiff University. The work involved two main stages – refining the requirements for such a tool, followed by building it. Wugen is a piece of software designed to be deployed by federation operators and the like to allow their community to easily craft WAYFless URLs. The core Wugen software, a WAYFless URL generator, is available at http://iam.cf.ac.uk/trac/wugen, and a test instance at http://iam.cf.ac.uk/urlgenerator/

Extending Access Management to Business Community Engagement

This project was managed via the AIM Programme but was run by Jisc Collections. It was a 10 month project running from June 2010 till March 2011. The aim of the project was to create a package of materials and strategies based on Identity Management activity taking place at institutions so as to enable other institutions to extend current identity management (IdM) to Business and Community Engagement (BCE) groups.  An online “how to manual” detailing the process an institution has to go through to achieve a level and quality of identity management suitable for use with existing Federated Access Management tools in order to provide Access and Identity Management to BCE and associated groups has been produced and is available from http://www.jisc-collections.ac.uk/Our-projects/EAM2BCE/.

WATER (Walk-in Access To E-Resources)

The M25 Consortium applied for funding from HEFCE for a feasibility study (WAM25) to establish a pilot service to provide walk-in access to e-resources in London and the South-East. Additional funding was successfully requested from Jisc and from SCONUL. After a lengthy deliberation, HEFCE announced that it would not be funding the pilot project. At that stage, Jisc had already made available £25,000 for the project and SCONUL had agreed a sum of £5,000. It was agreed that the money already allocated by Jisc and SCONUL could be used to promote the extension of walk-in access to e-resources on a national basis. This project finally completed late 2012 and the guidelines are available on the SCONUL site at http://www.sconul.ac.uk/news/water-report-published

AIM Strategy and Plan

Jisc and Janet spent the latter half of 2013 working together to develop a new draft AIM Strategy outlining the high level objectives to continue the evolution of access and identity management for the UK education and research sectors.

Both the AIM Strategy and Plan have been through a consulation process and will have an annual review to ensure we continue to meet customer requirements. The Strategy can be found at https://community.ja.net/groups/access-and-identity-management-aim/document/access-and-identity-management-strategy-draft and the Evolution and Delivery of Services Plan is at https://community.ja.net/groups/access-and-identity-management-aim/document/access-and-identity-management-evolution-and.

Identity Management Co-design

Although the AIM programme drew to a close in 2013, access and identity management continues to be a key part of Jisc work. As part of the new co-design process, piloted by Jisc in 2013-14, the Identity Management project was funded to address the cultural, social and political barriers to good identity management within Higher Education. This investigation explored the issue from a user’s point of view and identified practical options for addressing the barriers identified. The scope for this project included library issues but also challenges related to HR and student services. It is not dealing with technical issues or solutions. A taskforce was set up to provide input and oversight to the project. It includes people with the relevant skills required to identify and address access management issues for users; people who are dealing with day to day issues, as well as those from existing relevant access and identity management groups.

The project is reaching its conclusion and planning for the second phase of the project is underway. Full details on this project are on the project’s blog.

And finally….

If you have managed to get this far in this post and have read all of the above then I am impressed. I apologise for the excessive use of acronyms and programme call numbers, but links have been provided to explain them all. Although the work of AIM continues under Jisc’s new co-design method, the AIM programme and its way of funding is now at an end. I like to feel that the programme has provided useful tools, reports and software but nothing would have been achieved without the hard work of all the project managers who made these projects happen. Thank you.

Chris