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November 05, 2007

OpenID - questions for the community

Some readers will know that we are running an OpenID event in London later this week, OpenID - online identity for the social network generation of learners and researchers.  We have a great line-up of speakers and I'm really looking forward to it.  The stated aims of the day are to:

  • raise awareness (why is OpenID of interest?);    
  • discuss issues (what are the problems with OpenID?, how can it be implemented?);    
  • help to influence practice and inform policy at both institutional and national levels.

We are ending the day with a panel session and we have built plenty of time into each of the speaking slots to allow for questions and discussion.  Delegates be warned... we want this day to be as interactive as possible!

To that end, we've been thinking about the kinds of questions and issues that we'd like to see discussed during the day.  Here's our list, grouped into 4 broad areas:

Understanding the landscape

  • How does OpenID complement our existing 'identity technology' approaches?  Does OpenID meet any requirements that are unmet by other technologies – are there gaps in our current service provision that OpenID might help fill?
  • Do we have specific educational community requirements or challenges (from the perspective of both service providers and users) that are different to other users/uses of OpenID?
  • What are the strengths/weaknesses of in-house vs. outsourced service provision in this area?

Ways forward

  • What should funding bodies (JISC, Eduserv, etc.) be doing in this space?
  • How should institutions and service providers respond to the growing interest in OpenID?
  • What more do institutions and service providers need to know before deciding on whether to make use of OpenID technology?
  • Is there a need for 'comparative' guidance around alternative 'identity technologies'?  If so, how should that guidance be developed and maintained?

Influencing standards

  • Does the educational community need to directly influence the development of OpenID specifications in the future and, if so, how?
  • Does the UK education community need a more formal way of interacting with the OpenID Foundation?
  • Do we need a 'UK Identity Focus' (similar to UK Web Focus)?

Sharing good practice

  • Are there recommendations that we can make now for institutions considering deploying OpenID for their users?
  • Are there recommendations that we can make now for service providers considering deploying OpenID for their services?
  • How should such recommendations be developed and maintained in the future?

Note that these questions are not intended to restrict discussion - just give some helpful suggestions for the kinds of areas we might touch on during the day.

Whether you are attending or not, I'd be interested in your thoughts about what the day should produce in terms of outcomes?

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