On June 16th 2019, the new initiative “FIM4L“ was introduced at the 40th REFEDS meeting in Tallinn, Estonia. On behalf of Peter Gietz, who unfortunately had to cancel his participation on short notice, Nick Roy informed the community about the foundation and the further development of FIM4L. The aim of the initiative is to continue to develop the results and recommendations of the AARC2 project on federated identity management and to adapt them to the needs of libraries and library service providers. Currently, the initiative is working on the final version of a charter and a document with guidelines and recommendations.

About the event

REFEDS, short for „the Research and Education FEDerations group“, has the mission to give the different education and research federations worldwide a unified voice, which will enable them to express their common needs. The group represents the demands of education and research in the continuously growing area of identity and access management.

The 40th REFEDS meeting takes place in conjunction with TNC19. The TNC is the yearly TERENA Network Conference, the biggest and most prestigious European conference on the topic of network technologies for education and research. The TNC is the meeting point for national research networks. Its name is based on TERENA, the “Trans-European Research and Education Network Association”, which is continued today as part of GÉANT, together with DANTE (“Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe”).

On the formation of FIM4L

AARC (Authentication and Authorisation for Research and Collaboration) was a project funded by the European Commission from 2015 to 2019, which was aimed at supporting eduGAIN, a worldwide interoperable AAI (authentication and authorization infrastrucutre) based on federations for reserach and education. As one of the 25 project partners of AARC, DAASI International advocates for applying the results of AARC even after the project itself has ended.
Another range of application for such federated identity management (FIM) is the library sector. The new initiative FIM4L wants to advance the usage of modern FIM technologies to allow for a better and safer interaction between libraries and publishing houses. It was initiated by the AARC partners Moravian Library and DAASI International together with the library of the University of Rotterdam and already has more than 40 members. By now, all four important stakeholder groups are represented in the working group: the libraries (also their European association LIBER), the national research networks as providers of research infrastructure including their networking association GÉANT, technical service providers in the field as well as scientific publishing houses. DAASI International is happy to provide her expertise from the area of federated identity and access management to the initiative FIM4L. Especially CEO and founder of DAASI International, Peter Gietz, is actively working to support the group.

The initiative FIM4L is also seeking a cooperation with RA21. RA21 is an initiative which is primarily supported by the publishers to improve the experience of library users when they are using FIM to access their services.

All members of the library community or others who are active in the area of federated IdM for libraries are invited to join the FIM4L mailing list.

Related projects: FIM4R and FIM4D

One should be careful not to confuse FIM4L with the older, similarly named working group FIM4R (R for research), in which research infrastructures, such as DARIAH, represented by DAASI International, are organized to make their requirements for federated identity and access management public, which also lead to the advancement of AARC. Peter Gietz noted on the topic: “All three initiatives with FIM4 in their name have the shared goal to promote FIM in each of their different communities. That’s why it was only logical to use the abbreviation for the library initiative as well. This allows for a recognition effect between the new initiative and the DARIAH-EU working group FIM4D, which was led by me, as well as the working group FIM4R. What’s so special about FIM4L is that different stakeholder groups are involved, so the discussion is no longer only technical, but also political.”

Note: In an earlier version of this article, it was stated that Peter Gietz and Barbara Monticini, as originally planned, would present the initiative at the REFEDS meeting; this was corrected in the present version, as Peter Gietz had to cancel his participation on short notice.

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