Digital certificate operation in a complex environment
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The overall aim of the project is to provide a detailed evaluation and implementation report of 'real world' digital certificate services at the University of Oxford. The project seeks to evaluate authenticated access to both local and remote resources by a variety of user types. This is a two year project and evaluation output will be both formative and summative, focussing on technical, administrative and user issues relating to the deployment of a broad-based digital certificate service.
The project will be based at the Oxford University Computing Services and will be in collaboration with the Oxford University Library Services (OULS), Oxford e-Science Centre, Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC), MIMAS and Athens.
The Project will implement and evaluate a digital certificate service within the University of Oxford. For the purposes of the project, and to ensure a controlled environment for administrative and evaluation purposes, the service will be aimed at distinct user groups and selected online resources.
The user groups comprise:
- University IT support staff distributed amongst the colleges and departments of the University
- A sample cross-section of users requiring access to remote resources served by Oxford University Library Services
- Academic visitors to the University requiring access to Grid resources served by the Oxford e-Science Centre.
The services comprise:
- A range of functions and tools which enable IT support staff to make updates to various central servers relating to the user communities they support (e.g. mail routing; DNS amendments; user registration)
- Remote resources represented by the experimental Athens Devolved Authentication service on the one hand and the Zetoc resource managed by MIMAS on the other
- The national e-Science Grid via the Oxford e-Science Centre.
The main deliverables from the Project for dissemination to the wider community will be a series of critical evaluation reports for each milestone of the project together with a final report which will be published as a manual of good practice for the provision of personal digital certificates within a UK higher education institution. It is intended that the project will employ open standards and open source solutions where possible.