AIM Innovation Projects’ Start-up Meeting

As this was the first start-up meeting I have organised it was with some trepidation that I headed off to Greenwich on Wednesday 3 March. With the improved transport connections, improved since I last went to Greenwich which is more years ago than I care to remember, I thought Greenwich would make a pleasant change from the hurly-burly of central London, a place of calm to encourage a more relaxed and informal atmosphere.

With the early start and the distance that some people had to travel, JISC funded accommodation and a dinner for the night before. Meeting up in the Admirals’ Bar, I saw some familiar faces and was pleased to meet some new ones too. Understandably, I think most people were probably wishing they were someone else, but thankfully Verena (who helps organise these events) had found a good restaurant a short walk from the hotel. Once ensconced at the restaurant, and some wine and food had been consumed, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves talking about a variety of subjects, including some non-work topics as well. As we were there for 4 hours I guess it can’t have been too bad.

The next day we had a 9:30 start. Everything went smoothly apart from an early hiccup with the PA system. This was only needed for the eWorks presentation which was being done through Skype. In the end we hooked the laptop up to a plasma screen to use its speakers and this worked pretty well.

One problem with arranging a start-up meeting is that the audience is a mix of old-hands who have worked on JISC projects and are pretty familiar with its processes, and the new to JISC people. With this is mind I gave a presentation on the Access & Identity Management (AIM) programme and how the projects fitted in within the programme. Some information was repeated from the Briefing Day as not everyone had been to that event. I described the JISC guidelines paying particular attention to the roles of the Programme Manager and the Project Manager, what they should expect from me and what JISC expects from them. Dissemination and publicity of the projects is fundamental for expanding the community and bringing the projects’ outputs to a wider audience. I encouraged their project websites to be more than just a one page summary of the project, resisting the temptation to finger point.

Following my presentation we then linked up to Owen ONeill from eWorks in Australia who presented using Skype. We didn’t use webcams, which was just as well as he said he was sitting in his pyjamas in 30 degree heat. Owen described eWorks and its function within Australia. They had picked up on the 08/09 call and are interested in it because it covers areas that they are dealing with too. They are hoping to work closely with some of the projects, not just looking at their outputs but also learning more about how JISC funded projects are run. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

Each project had been allocated 15 minutes to give an introduction to their project and describe its aims and objectives. The 9 presentations were split by an enjoyable lunch that gave everyone a further opportunity to network. One of the purposes behind this event was for the projects to network and so tea/coffee breaks and lunch are just as important as watching the presentations. This part of the day also proved successful judging by the number of interesting conversations going on between projects.

Projects presented in alphabetical order and there follows a brief summary of each one. There was some mention during the day of JISC’s “obsession” with Twitter. With that in mind the following summaries have not exceeded 140 characters! All the slides are available at the end of this post.

Create a demonstrator that proves the protocol for Electronic Award Certificates. The certificates can be trusted more than paper versions

Granularity, Audit, N-tier and Delegation (GRAND)
Look at improving Grouper’s structure, process Shib and Grouper logs and integrate an auto login for Shib and exploit n-tier support in Shib

Identity & Access Management using Social Networking Technologies
Using Friend-Of-A-Friend vocabulary for Id management and apply it to the UK Fed via Shib (implementing an IdP) and the NGS via GSI.

Logins for Life
Look at how existing digital ids can be used throughout the changing relationship a person has with a university – before, during and after.

A Proxy Credential Auditing Infrastructure for the UK e-Science National Grid Service
Develop proxy cert auditing infrastructure supporting monitoring/auditing use of proxy credentials, demo it in projects and roll out to NGS.

Retrieval, Analysis and Presentation Toolkit for usage of Online Resources (RAPTOR)
Creating software that collects usage stats from Shib/EZproxy logs and shows the visualisation of e-resource usage to non-technical people.

Student-Managed Access to online Resources (SMART)
Develop an online data access mgmt system based on the User-Managed Access (UMA) Web protocol, deploy and evaluate within Newcastle Univ.

Service-Oriented Federated Authorization (SOFA)
Extend sif to deliver a service-oriented framework that facilitates the secure aggregation of heterogeneous data sources.

Web Services Tiered Internet Authorisation (WSTIERIA)
Make web services work within the UK federation. Look at authorising proxy (“façade”) from SEE-GEO and native Shib n-tier delegation.

After the project presentations Andy McGregor, Information Environment Programme Manager, introduced the new project management forum, JISCPM. He encouraged projects to use the forum when they have any questions on project management, as there are many experienced people available who will answer their questions. By tagging related content with the tag #jiscpm the information can be retrieved by anyone with an interest in this area.

We had a final open forum and there was some discussion between projects and a sharing of ideas. One such discussion was between the WSTIERIA and SMART projects where they compared User Managed Access (UMA) with OAuth WRAP and the web service access control façade idea from a previous JISC/EDINA SEE-GEO project on which WSTIERIA is based. The two projects plan to meet up at some point to discuss this further.

The discussions could have continued but as many people had long journeys to get home, and we were all tired out from a long day, the meeting was adjourned. As I only took 20 minutes to get from Greenwich to Waterloo I thought maybe Greenwich isn’t that far away from central London. The feedback from the event has been positive so I like to think the day was a success.

Slides and eWorks handout

AIM Start-up Meeting – Introduction

AIM Start-up Meeting – Programme Manager presentation

Access and Authentication – eWorks presentation

eWorks Information Sheet

eCert Presentation

GRAND Presentation

Identity & Access Management using Social Networking Technologies Presentation

Logins for Life Presentation

A Proxy Credential Auditing Infrastructure for the UK e-Science National Grid Service

RAPTOR Presentation

SMART Presentation

SOFA Presentation

WSTIERIA Presentation

JISCPM Presentation