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Frequently Asked Questions

These are frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the metadata-driven web pages.

General Questions

What is SAML?

For information about Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), visit the SAML section of this wiki.

What is an IdP?

An Identity Provider (IdP) is a SAML entity that authenticates and identifies users. In a technical sense, an IdP produces SAML assertions containing a security context for an authenticated user.

What is an SP?

A Service Provider (SP) is a SAML entity that consumes SAML assertions for the purpose of provisioning a security context to applications just-in-time.

What is a category?

A category is a group of SAML entities with similar characteristics. For example, the Research and Scholarship Category is a group of SPs that support research and scholarly activities in the InCommon Federation.

What are metadata-driven web pages?

The metadata-driven web pages are dynamic web pages whose content is derived entirely from InCommon metadata. Examples of metadata-driven web pages include the entity info pages and the organization info pages.

I updated InCommon metadata but the changes did not appear on the metadata-driven web pages?

The metadata-driven web pages rely on metadata in JSON format. An automatic process converts XML metadata into JSON metadata once a day, so it may take up to 24 hours for your changes to take effect. See the MD-driven Web Page Architecture page in this wiki for details.

A link on a metadata-driven web page is broken, who should I report this to?

Oops, that means a broken link was mistakenly entered into metadata. Please drop us a line at admin@incommon.org and we'll take care of this.

Can I link to a metadata-driven web page from one of my own web pages?

Yes, of course, but the metadata-driven web pages are still in beta and they are likely to move in the future. If they are moved, we will be careful to install redirects if necessary, but it's your responsibility to maintain your own links.

Entity Info Pages

What are entity info pages?

We provide lists of all entities in Federation metadata. Individual entity info pages include information about a specific SAML entity (an identity provider or a service provider) in Federation metadata.

What info does each of the entity info pages contain?

Each entity page contains:

  • the name and logo of the entity
  • a short description of the entity
  • a URL that leads to additional information about the entity
  • a URL that leads to a privacy statement for the entity
  • contact information (names and email addresses for the administrative, technical, and support contacts in metadata)
  • for service providers, a list of requested attributes in metadata

What are MDUI elements?

MDUI elements are User Interface Elements in metadata that are used by downstream applications to construct rich, dynamic user interfaces (UIs). Specifically, UI elements in IdP metadata are used for the discovery and error pages at the service provider, while UI elements in SP metadata are used for the login, consent, and error pages at the identity provider. The goal is to unify the various user interfaces associated with cross-domain single sign-on, thereby enhancing the overall user experience.

How do I add MDUI elements to my metadata?

Detailed instructions, including screen shots, are available on the User Interface Elements page in this wiki.

Why can’t I change the name of my identity provider?

Currently, to insure accurate representation of IdPs on discovery interfaces, the Federation operator is authoritative for the display names of identity providers. Therefore it is not possible for site admins to change the display name of their IdP directly. If you think the display name of your IdP needs to be changed, please contact admin@incommon.org.

I can’t find a page for my service provider! What’s up with that?

If your service provider is listed in InCommon metadata, then there's an entity page for it (if not, that's a bug). There is, however, a catch-all "other" category for SPs that don't have display names. Most likely, your SP falls into that category. You can fix this simply by providing a display name for your SP. See the User Interface Elements page in this wiki for details.

Why doesn’t my service provider have a name?

By default, a service provider's name is its entityID in metadata. To change the name to something more readable, simply include an <mdui:DisplayName> element in your SP's metadata. See the UI Elements in SP Metadata page in this wiki for details.

The logo takes a very long time to display on my entity page, what should I do?

Since the entity pages attempt to resolve an image resource that resides in another security domain, some delay is expected. If you find this delay to be annoying, please contact us (admin@incommon.org) and let us know.

Organization Info Pages

What are organization info pages?

We provide lists of all organizations in Federation metadata. Individual organization info pages include information about a specific organization in Federation metadata.

What info does each of the organization info pages contain?

Each organization page contains:

  • the name of the organization
  • a URL that leads to additional information about the organization
  • a list of all the identity providers for the organization
  • a list of all the service providers for the organization

Why can’t I find a page for my organization?

All information on these pages is derived from InCommon metadata, and therefore the lists of organizations include only those InCommon participants with published metadata. Visit the InCommon Participants page for a complete list of all participating organizations.

If your organization is not currently a member of the InCommon Federation (and therefore not represented on these info pages), please join the Federation! All InCommon participants are eligible and encouraged to take advantage of all that federated identity and access management has to offer.

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