What is Shibboleth
Shibboleth is a “federated” Identity Management system. It provides a common method of authentication and authorisation to a range of providers who are all members of a common “federation”. In the UK education sector this federation is the “UK Access Management Federation”.
A user authenticates with their EASE credentials to our Identity Provider. Our Identity Provider then passes the minimum identity information required by the Service Provider to authenticate the user and make an authorisation decision.
The result is that users of member organisations can connect to member Service Providers in a common manner that doesn’t divulge their local identity or credentials unless specifically required by that Service Provider. This means that Service Providers can provide a service to multiple organisations without having to develop bespoke authentication mechanisms.
Currently the majority of Service Providers are electronic journals although it’s increasingly being used by other web applications popular in the Education sector.