Digital Certificate Operation in a Complex Environment
PKI Primer and Project Background
11. What this DCOCE project set out to investigate
11.1. Our aim
Formally, the main aim of the Digital Certificate Operation in a Complex
Environment (DCOCE) project was
to provide a detailed implementation and
evaluation report of 'real world' digital certificate services at the
University of Oxford.
11.1.1. Some objectives
Within the above general aim, there were some individual objectives to be
Development for, and implementation of, a public key
infrastructure using digital certificates that would form a pilot
project involving a selection of users within the University of
Evaluations, both technical and user-oriented of a wide variety
of aspects surrounding the implementation of PKI at higher
education establishments within the UK. The evaluations were to be
collated into a final report.
Dissemination of a series of reports - via web pages, email
lists and at real 'events' - of the progress of the
documenting successes and failures and points of difficulty.
These and the final report were to be disseminated in a form that
proved useful to others considering PKI within the higher and
further education sector in the UK.
11.1.2. There were also some further aims
The project should:
attempt to learn from the experience of other
implementations in this area
(note that although this was an overall aim, a full review of
existing methodologies and technologies was not anticipated);
work in partnership with organisations involved in
devolved authentication and/or interested in using certificates
work in partnership with organisations having an interest
in promoting the use of digital certificates and public key
188.8.131.52. Objectives arising from these aims:
The project should demonstrate successful authentication for
access to external resources protected by the Athens Access
Similarly, integration should be achieved with the Zetoc
(Z39.50-compliant access to the British Library's
Electronic Table of
Contents) resource managed by Manchester
Information and Associated Services (MIMAS).
The project should work closely with (and be advised by) the
national e-Science Grid via the Oxford e-Science Centre. It
is hoped that the findings of the project will be of use to
the e-Science Grid and all endeavours will be made to ensure
that this is so.
The project should conduct a brief review of a few public
key infrastructure implementations. This is to inform the
choice of methodologies and technologies to be piloted.
Publication and evaluation in this area will be limited.
11.2. And finally...
This is the end of our background primer to PKI and (a retrospective) introduction to the
Mark Norman, August 2003 (updated October 2006)
Up: Contents Previous: 10. Practical challenges for PKI Next: Appendix A More on trust
Digital Certificate Operation in a Complex Environment (DCOCE) is a project funded by the Joint Information Systems
at Oxford University Computing Services, Library Services and the
e-Science Centre. External partners include Manchester Information
and Associated Services and Athens at EduServ.
University of Oxford.