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InCommon Federation Now Serves 4 Million on U.S. Campuses

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  • Subject: InCommon Federation Now Serves 4 Million on U.S. Campuses
  • Date: Mon, 21 Dec 2009 09:15:34 -0500 (EST)

Ann Arbor, Mich. - December 21, 2009 – The InCommon Federation has announced
the achievement of a milestone - its community now includes more than 4
million end users. The federation also has almost 200 participating
organizations, including colleges and universities, research labs, agencies
of the U.S. government, and private companies that offer web-based resources
and services.

When institutions join InCommon, their faculty, researchers, students, and
staff can use their organizational IDs and passwords to access on-campus and
off-campus services, rather than maintaining multiple passwords and
usernames. As a result, people use the same credentials to access such
third-party services as library databases, multimedia content, research
information and services provided by U.S. government agencies, and career
center systems and tools.

"One of the primary goals of federations like InCommon is to allow
universities to provide access to a wide range of off-campus resources while
still protecting the security and privacy of their students, faculty, and
staff," explained Kevin Morooney, chief information officer and vice provost
for information technology at Pennsylvania State University and incoming
chair of the InCommon Steering Committee. "It is gratifying to see that the
federation continues to gain traction within higher education, with research
labs and consortia, and with agencies of the U.S. government."

InCommon was recently one of the organizations recognized with the 2009
EDUCAUSE Catalyst Award, honoring innovations that provide groundbreaking
solutions to major information technology challenges in higher education.
EDUCAUSE, a non-profit association, has more than 2,200 college and
university members and 17,000 individual members.

InCommon includes two types of members – identity providers and service
providers. The identity providers – colleges, universities, and research
agencies – already supply user IDs and passwords to their students, faculty
and staff to allow them to access campus resources like email. Service
providers deliver some type of online resource, such as a library database or
a course management system.

When these entities join InCommon, they agree on a set of shared policies,
processes, and technology standards. One of those standards is a process for
single sign-on, so one set of credentials provides access to resources from
any service provider, without the need for another user ID or password.

This greatly streamlines collaboration among multiple organizations because
federation members agree on these policies and processes once, rather than
each time they sign a contract with a new partner. It also improves security
and privacy, as the identity provider releases only the information needed
for the service provider to make an access decision. Many times, this does
not require the release of even an individual’s name or other personally
identifiable information.

For more information on InCommon and a full list of participants, visit:

About InCommon(R)
InCommon provides the U.S. higher education and research community with the
common framework for trustworthy shared management of access to online
resources. InCommon facilitates the development of a community-based common
trust fabric sufficient to enable participants to make appropriate decisions
about the release of identity information and the control of access to
protected online resources. InCommon is intended to enable production-level
end-user access to a wide variety of protected resources. For more
information, visit

  • InCommon Federation Now Serves 4 Million on U.S. Campuses, woodbeck, 12/21/2009

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