Shibboleth-aware Portals and Information Environments Project (SPIE)

Primary contact: Christian Fernau
Start date: 2004-07-01
End date: 2006-09-30
Funding body/programme: JISC/Core Middleware (Technology Development)
Partners: Bristol University (Institute for Learning and Research Technology; Eduserv (Athens)
Development website:

The Shibboleth-enabled Portals and Information Environments (SPIE) is funded by the JISC under the Core Middleware (Technology Development) Programme. The project is led by the Research Technologies Service in partnership with the University of Bristol (ILRT) and Eduserv (Athens).

SPIE directly builds on the outcomes from other JISC-funded projects led, or significantly contributed to, by the SPIE partner institutions, including the RTS. These projects, namely the Subject Portals Project (SPP) and Digital Certificate Operation in a Complex Environment (DCOCE) Project directly relate to the challenge of access management within both the JISC Information Environment and institutional information environments. The SPP has demonstrated that access to JISC collections, via Athens, can be integrated within standards-compliant institutional portal frameworks uPortal. DCOCE, through its collaboration with Athens and the Oxford e-Science Centre, is piloting the use of Oxford-issued digital certificates for authenticated access to remote resources. SPIE, therefore, takes advantage of this work and its potential convergence to investigate seamless authenticated and authorised access across information environments, especially those managed by institutions, the JISC and e-Science. The deployment of the Shibboleth protocol within real life local and national applications for access to online resources gives the potential not only to integrate authentication domains within the UK but also to join together information environments internationally. The applications which will be Shibboleth-enabled through this project include: an institutional single sign-on application (Stanford Webauth); an institutional portal framework (uPortal); a portal framework currently utilised for national scholarly portals (SPP); a national single sign-on system (AthensSSO). Notable open standards with which Shibboleth will interoperate through this project include: WSRP, eduPerson LDAP schema, SAML, and Z39.50.

The SPIE Project aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of Shibboleth in providing integration between institutional and national information environments, especially via enhanced portals and portlets.

The project intends to fulfil this aim by meeting the following objectives:

  • Integrate Shibboleth within an institutional information environment, including both a portal environment and single sign-on authentication system;
  • Deploy Shibboleth-related components and the Permis decision engine at Oxford University as a 'real life' testbed;
  • Enable institutional users to access remote resources seamlessly by integrating local and remote Shibboleth domains;
  • Evaluate the usability of the Shibboleth approach from the perspective of end-users and resource managers;
  • Disseminate the results of each project deliverable widely within the UK and beyond.

The following RTS staff are allocated to the SPIE Project:

  • Christian Fernau, Systems Developer

The project is directed by Professor Paul Jeffreys and Dr Michael Fraser.

This page provides access to the following documents and links to relevant resources: