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Are you reading this post via a feed reader? If so, read on…

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

On Tuesday May 31st we’re going to change the categories on this blog, so if by any chance you’re using a feed of a specific category, that’s going to break. We suggest subscribing to the whole blog for maximum enjoyment! If you’re not a LIS staff member & would like to filter out the more staff related posts, you can subscribe to the new “Middlebury Community Interest” category after May 31st. The other categories will be “LIS Staff Interest”, and “Post for MiddPoints” which will cause the post to be added to the MiddPoints blog too. All the old categories except “The Essentials” will be converted to tags for easy searching.
The LIS Web team developed this new scheme, following recommendations that came out of the open meeting about the future of the LIS Blog (including a call for simplified categories). The AD Team reviewed and approved these changes. We welcome your comments.

Introducing: The Identity Management Project

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The Identity Management Project kicked off in December of 2009. The current project team (small ‘t’) is Tom Cutter, Adam Franco, Mike Lynch, Chris Norris, Carol Peddie, Mark Pyfrom, Jeff Rehbach, Mike Roy, and Marcy Smith.

The Identity Management (IDM) project seeks to organize our concept of a “person” or “identity” among our various systems (including Banner, the Active Directory, web-applications, hosted systems, and others). This project focuses on three facets of each identity:

Unique identifier:
Every identity would have a unique identifier. Currently, only people in Banner have one of its identifiers (guests and vendor-staff aren’t in Banner) and only people in AD have log-in names (alumni, parents, and others aren’t in the AD).
Unified Properties:
Each identity will have a set of properties (name, email, address, title, department, etc) that is consistent and available to all of our applications. Currently user properties may be different or unavailable depending on which source of user information is used; a person’s title is a good example of this inconsistency.
Roles:
Identities will gain zero or more “roles” that can be used to grant or deny access to our systems and services. We currently have no consistent way (in AD or web applications) of determining if a person is a current student, faculty, staff, or other role — the best we can do now is to look at membership in certain mailing lists like “All_Faculty”. With the IDM project, we will be able to access an authoritative list of the current roles for a person (visitors would have no roles) and will be able to ensure that access to services properly matches an individual’s relationship to the college.

In addition to organizing and improving the properties and roles of our current set of users (current students, faculty, staff, emeriti, vendors, spouses, and limited guests), the IDM project will also enable us to expand the number of usable (authenticate-able) accounts to include alumni, prospective students, and visitors. As well, we gain the potential to include users from other institutions via federated authentication systems such as Shibboleth.

Here is a list of a few things that will become possible with completion of the IDM project:

  • Rather than accounts being immediately deleted upon graduation, they instead would loose the “student” role and gain the “alumnus” role. These users would continue to use their same log-in credentials access alumni-only and public resources (i.e. commenting on blogs, renewing library books), but would loose access to student-only resources (i.e. course websites, JStore and other subscription library materials).
  • We will be able to grant access (individually or in groups) to many of our online systems for guests, alumni, emeriti, visitors, vendors, perspectives, and others with loose affiliations with the college.
  • Inter-institutional projects will be able to make use of any of our online systems as collaboration platforms.
  • A fan of Middlebury Hockey could create a visitor account to use for purchasing panther gear from the college book store, then come back and log in with the same account to purchase tickets from the box office, make comments on the coach’s blog, and fill out a form to sign up their kids for participation in the Winter Carnival ice show. Their name, email, mailing address, and other properties would be available to all of the systems.

Please note that some of these examples will require additional changes and development projects beyond the IDM project itself. However, all require aspects of the IDM project to be possible.

MiddLab: Call for Projects

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

What are you doing this semester? If it includes working on a project or research covering topics that potentially span multiple disciplines, We’d love to hear about it. You can get in touch by emailing middlab@middlebury.edu.

What is MiddLab?

MiddLab will be a new section of our website that helps push information about scholarly and service work up to the top. We know that there are a lot of great academic resources built by people at Middlebury and many ongoing projects and activities that not everyone hears about or gets to see. The purpose of MiddLab is to:

  • Tell people about this great work.
  • See how it all ties together.
  • Let people contribute to the discussion.

What do you want to know?

We’re very interested in hearing about the project work you’re doing this semester. This includes research projects, service learning projects, student organization work, entrepreneurial ventures, presentations, conferences, seminars and symposiums. This can be work done for any Middlebury or MIIS program or an independent project conducted by a member of one of those institutions.

Because we want to tell people about this work on the web, the project should produce some type of artifact that can be shown on the web: papers, posters, slideshows, videos, a website, a database, a blog. Don’t worry if your project doesn’t have many of these. We’re happy to do the work of converting what you have for the web.

If you don’t have a full project, but do maintain an existing online database or resource, let us know about that too. We’ll aggregate the information into MiddLab to increase the use and visibility or your resource.

What do I need to do?

We don’t want to add to your work, especially in the middle of a semester. To get involved, just submit the online form, or send an email to middlab@middlebury.edu. We’ll need to meet to discuss your project a couple times and you’ll need to help me a bit in handing off materials and checking the final product. More involvement is welcome, but we want this to be available to everyone, from the professor who lives online to the student who thinks a whiteboard is a bit too much new technology for the classroom.

What’s the timeline?

We’d like to hear about your projects this month and get together a couple times during March and April with the intention of having most of the information about the project compiled by the end of the semester. Over the summer, we will work on MiddLab to build out the site with all of the projects collected in this initial phase and host an “open beta” of the site where you can see it coming together. During the next fall semester, we hope to have MiddLab fully operational and allow direct submission and build-out of projects through the site, while continuing this organic process as well.

Thanks for your attention. We’re looking forward to hearing about your work.