Digital Certificate Operation in a Complex Environment
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PKI Primer and Project Background

1. Introduction

This is the background to the Digital Certificate Operation in a Complex Environment (DCOCE) project.

This includes a general background to the issues that underpinned and stimulated the project. There follows a high-level introduction to digital certificates and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) as well as, finally, a section on the project aims and objectives.

For brevity, we have tried to keep this information meaningful but concise. Where you wish to seek further information, there may be links within this document to external sources.

This introduction is designed to be read sequentially, but the quick links at the side of each page can be used to find information a second time.

1.1. Who should read this primer?

Anyone seeking general background to PKI should benefit from reading this introduction. Note that in places some information may be purely the opinions of the authors and you may do well to read several other sources of information regarding PKI and digital certificates.

If you are looking for our formal aims, please see the section on What this project will investigate.

A note about jargon: This web site attempts to avoid jargon and abbreviations as much as possible and terms and organisation names are written out in full unless they appear multiple times on the same page. Please use our glossary for a full description of each technical term, technology or organisation. Any terms appearing in text rendered like this are defined in our glossary.

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Sections in this document:

Oxford University Computing Services Mimas Athens access management services Oxfore e-Science Centre Systems and Electronic Resources Service Joint Information Systems Committee