In the summer of 2014, TERENA (now GEANT Association) commissioned work (to Heather Flanagan) to revitalise the SCHAC schema in response to the demand from the community to have a well-structured and maintained attribute schema for academia. This is critical for efficient federation and interfederation interoperability.
The Schema for Academia (SCHAC) was initially operated as a community effort led by TERENA. Unfortunately, this approach did not offer the necessary continuity and caused SCHAC to fall into a state of disrepair when key members of the community maintaining SCHAC became less involved.
The aim of the work in 2014 was to harmonise all the SCHAC-related documentation and tools available on the TERENA website into a single SCHAC specification and to appoint a SCHAC editorial board. This initial work was completed, and as of 2015 SCHAC is managed via REFEDS. This will ensure a more global coordination with other relevant global schema activities.
- SCHAC Editorial board – we have now a SCHAC editorial board in place with a defined process. The people on the editorial board are working voluntarily, thanks for all their great work! We could not afford to operate without the on-going community support. Visit the SCHAC editorial page on the REFEDS for more information.
- SCHAC documentation – This was the biggest part of the work. Work here included:
o Forming a complete OID registry, see https://wiki.refeds.org/display/STAN/SCHAC+OID+Registry .
o Ensure that the right namespace urn:schac is used everywhere (the urn:mace:terena.org:schac was deprecated in 2011). For more information see: https://wiki.refeds.org/display/STAN/SCHAC+URN+Registry .
o Standardise on a single registry model for SCHAC. For a long time we have had two registries operating in parallel. As the SCHAC editorial board has recommended a simple static registry for SCHAC, we have deprecated the registry tool (hosted at https://urnreg.terena.org/browser/) which was not well maintained. This means there is only one registry now, online at: https://wiki.refeds.org/display/STAN/SCHAC+Registry+Information .
- SCHAC shepherd – Clearly we need somebody to coordinate the work. The role of SCHAC shepherd has been assigned to Heather Flanagan as an extension of her original contract to harmonise the SCHAC project.
COMING UP SOON
A new release of SCHAC (v1.5.0) has just concluded it’s public comment period and it is expected to be released soon. There are still discussion on what should become the authoritative format of the schema (a single PDF file or a more living set of pages within the REFEDS wiki), but the content of the updated schema is now stable.
In addition, an analysis on how to more closely collaborate and complement the eduPerson schema will be started in the next few weeks. An initial report is expected later this year.
There are also plans to create a SAML profile of SCHAC to lower the barrier for deployment of this schema in additional federations. If you have thoughts on the SCHAC schema and suggestions for how it should grow, please write to the REFEDS list! The new SCHAC editorial board will look for community input and discussions there.
The Schema for Academia (SCHAC), was launched in 2005 to address inter-institutional data exchange. SCHAC was deployed nationally in different ways based on the use-cases.
In most of the cases only a few attributes of the SCHEMA are used (mostly SCHACHomeOrganisation). Many countries such as Finland, Spain, Slovenia, Denmark, Sweden, Italy have mandated some of the SCHAC attributes for their national federations.
SCHAC is to also used by some projects, i.e. TCS personal portal, perfSONAR and others.