Authenticated Networked Guided Environment for Learning
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User Manager: Overview
Author: Nicole Harris
What is the User Manager?
The User Manager (UM) controls (or interfaces with externally managed) information about the end user.
What tasks will it perform?
The problems of multiple passwords to access resources within UK HE are well known: the typical student must enter a password to get into the university system, another to get into the VLE, and remember multiple passwords to enter the various different resources used by a course. Although these security measures are perfectly understandable, a system whereby the access privileges of a user are passed from system to system without disturbing the user after the initial authentication (the single sign-on) would greatly enhance the learning experience.
The Angel User Manager allows users to log in to the system, provides authentication of the user and delivers authorisation details to the user thereby allowing them the rights to access the appropriate resources.
How does it work?
A user enters through an interface of choice (VLE, portal etc.) and submits a username and password in the usual fashion. A message containing this information is sent to the User Manager. The UM knows about a variety of databases that hold information about the user and checks each in turn, looking for information that connects to the username and password submitted.
Each database is connected to a directory service containing information about the list of groups that the user belongs to. From these directories, a list of groups for the user is formed.
When a user attempts to access a resource, the information about his rights groups is checked against the rights groups identified in the Resource Manager for that resource. Depending on which group is matched, the user is directed in the appropriate direction. This may be to the resource itself, to an ILL request, or to alternative suggestions.
What technology does it use?
Details concerning beta releases of the ANGEL middleware applications can be found at: http://www.angel.ac.uk/inside/
| pages maintained by Nicole
page last updated: 22 July, 2002