EPrints User Group 2015-01-13

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John Salter and John Beaman, University of Leeds


  • Hello: we're John Salter and John Beaman from the University of Leeds.
  • We've spent some time trying to write an Access Control system for EPrints. It's been a horror.
  • One of our use-cases is for Research Data, but it could be used on other repository types.

Out of the box User Access Control

  • EPrints (you all know what this is, right..?) has basic control at the document level - the 'security' field:
    • public (Open Access)
    • validuser (anyone who's got an account on that EPrints instance)
    • staffonly (Repository editors/admins)
  • This doesn't cover the requirements for some repositories...


  • Control access to EPrints, Documents
  • Control access based on:
    • User attributes e.g. signed-in via Shibboleth
    • Location e.g. on-campus
  • Simple interface to assign restrictions

EPACL: EPrints Access Control Layer

  • Doesn't overwrite any existing 'security' specified on documents.

Dealing with rejection

  • What happens when someone is denied access?
    • Document landing pages
    • Restricted summary pages
    • Contact details to request access?

ACL Objects

  • ACL Authority
    • Corresponds to a method of authorisation (e.g. Shibboleth, LDAP etc.)
  • ACL Role
    • Authorised by an ACL Authority with zero or more 'filters' applied
    • Filters act as additional requirements (e.g. ACL_Authority='LDAP', Filter='dc=leeds.ac.uk')
  • ACL Group
    • Each ACL Group consists of one or more ACL Roles
    • The ACL Roles are combined within an ACL Group by being 'OR'ed or 'AND'ed together
    • One or more ACL Groups are applied to EPrints data objects (e.g. eprints, documents)
    • The ACL Groups applied to EPrints data objects are 'OR'ed or 'AND'ed togther

Summary Page citation style

  • How do we deal with rejected requests (i.e. what do we show)?
  • We can define different citation styles depending on whether the request is allowed or denied
  • 'Restricted' citations may be required (e.g. to satisfy the minimum metadata requirements of a DOI)

Document-level landing pages

  • Born out of DOI requirements
  • Individual documents may have their own DOI, so ideally need their own 'landing page'
  • Document landing pages should contain at least the mandatory metadata fields if linked from a DOI

Request vs User

  • Two basic steps to authorise access - request and user
  • First EPrints checks if the request has appropriate access rights
  • If so, any additional user requirements are also checked
  • If not, the request is denied (since the user's credentials are irrelevant at that point)

Homeless thoughts

  • Summary Page citation style
  • Access logging
  • Login sources
  • Modular design
  • Request vs User
  • Describe ACL_Group, ACL_Role, ACL_Authority
  • DOIs at Doc level = landing page citation style
  • Objects and SubObjects