InCommon Federation Glossary

Access management system The collection of systems and or services associated with specific on-line resources and/or services that together derive the decision about whether to allow a given individual to gain access to those resources or make use of those services.
Assertion The identity information provided by an Identity Provider to a Service Provider.
Attribute A single piece of information associated with an electronic identity database record. Some attributes are general; others are personal. Some subset of all attributes defines a unique individual.
Authentication The process by which a person verifies or confirms their association with an electronic identifier. For example, entering a password that is associated with an UserID or account name is assumed to verify that the user is the person to whom the UserID was issued.
Authorization The process of determining whether a specific person should be allowed to gain access to an application or function, or to make use of a resource. The resource manager then makes the access control decision, which also may take into account other factors such as time of day, location of the user, and/or load on the resource system.
Electronic identifier A string of characters or structured data that may be used to reference an electronic identity. Examples include an email address, a user account name, a Kerberos principal name, a UC or campus NetID, an employee or student ID, or a PKI certificate.
Electronic identity A set of information that is maintained about an individual, typically in campus electronic identity databases. May include roles and privileges as well as personal information. The information must be authoritative to the applications for which it will be used.
Electronic identity credential An electronic identifier and corresponding personal secret associated with an electronic identity. An electronic identity credential typically is issued to the person who is the subject of the information to enable that person to gain access to applications or other resources that need to control such access.
Electronic identity database A structured collection of information pertaining to a given individual. Sometimes referred to as an "enterprise directory." Typically includes name, address, email address, affiliation, and electronic identifier(s). Many technologies can be used to create an identity database, for example LDAP or a set of linked relational databases.
Identity Identity is the set of information associated with a specific physical person or other entity. Typically an Identity Provider will be authoritative for only a subset of a person's identity information. What identity attributes might be relevant in any situation depend on the context in which it is being questioned.
identity management system A set of standards, procedures and technologies that provide electronic credentials to individuals and maintain authoritative information about the holders of those credentials.
Identity Provider A campus or other organization that manages and operates an identity management system and offers information about members of its community to other InCommon participants.
NetID An electronic identifier created specifically for use with on-line applications. It is often an integer and typically has no other meaning.
Personal secret (also verification token) Used in the context of this document, is synonymous with password, pass phrase or PIN. It enables the holder of an electronic identifier to confirm that s/he is the person to whom the identifier was issued.
Service Provider A campus or other organization that makes on-line resources available to users based in part on information about them that it receives from other InCommon participants.