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Membership Milestone for Shibboleth Consortium

Posted on Dec 07, 2018 by Sara Aly
Tags: InCommon, InCommon Federation, Recent Posts, Shibboleth, Trust & Identity, Trust and Identity in Education and Research

Member support model a big driver for the continued global growth of consortium membership 


BRISTOL, England, December 7, 2018 – The Shibboleth Consortium, a non-profit organization that ensures the ongoing development, support and maintenance of one of the world’s most widely deployed federated identity solutions, announced today that The Ohio State University, and identity management consultancy firm Signet, have joined the consortium as members, bringing the total consortium membership to 51 organizations.

The Shibboleth Consortium was established in 2013 with the aim of funding the development, support and maintenance of the Shibboleth software, a federated identity management approach offering a web-based single sign-on (SSO) solution. The Shibboleth software implements widely used federated identity standards, principally the OASIS Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), and provides SSO support to services outside of a user’s organization while still protecting their privacy.

“Initial members were predominantly identity federations, realising the importance Shibboleth played in their communities and wanting to safeguard its future for their institutions,” said Justin Knight, manager of the Shibboleth Consutrium. “The consortium is grateful to each and every organisation that has contributed over the years. Without this support, the software would not be in the position it is.”

The Shibboleth software is an essential component that is currently used by many identity federations worldwide as an integral part of their operations. As of November 2018, 86% of the identity providers (IdPs) and 64% of the service providers (SPs) in eduGAIN were using the Shibboleth software. The percentages indicate that over 2,000 institutions world-wide are using the Shibboleth software.

The Shibboleth software is open source and freely available, but ongoing development efforts to meet the needs of identity federations, educational systems and institutions have now grown to over $500,000 per year. Consortium membership dues serve as the funding base for the software and allows the consortium to manage the ongoing development of the software. 

The consortium has been actively participating in outreach activities to encourage membership, including online webinars and involvement with TNC, the Research and Education FEDerations group, and Trust and Internet Identity Meeting Europe.

The most successful initiative to attract membership was the change to the support model in 2017, giving members exclusive and dedicated software support from the core development team being managed by the consortium. This resulted in a significant increase in membership over the last 12 months, with membership almost doubling in number from 21 to 40 members in 2017. 

"Signet's first major investment was joining the consortium because flexible and secure software is the cornerstone for our integration work. It gives our clients a proxy vote on their needs and the peace of mind that we're backed by the developers," said Nate Klingenstein, Signet CEO. "I've worked with Shibboleth for more than half my life, starting with scribe duty prior to the first line of code, and this is my chance to tangibly give back to the Consortium that has given us all so much."

Scott Cantor, senior systems developer at The Ohio State University and a leading developer on the Shibboleth project since its inception added, "Shibboleth has been a key piece of reliable infrastructure here since its first version, and I'm incredibly happy to not only see us finally join the consortium but help it reach an important milestone."

The Shibboleth project began as a Middleware activity in 2000 by the Internet2 community with instrumental support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the U.S., and was quickly adopted by research and education communities worldwide with the first official release in 2003. 

About Shibboleth Consortium
The Shibboleth Consortium is the body which ensures the ongoing development, support and maintenance of the Shibboleth software. It is comprised of members who contribute financially at varying levels depending on size and type of organisation. The consortium consists of four principal members, thirteen national research and education networks, thirty academic and non-profit members, as well as four commercial members and three commercial partners from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. Jisc, provider of the United Kingdom's national research and education network, is the operator of the consortium, responsible for its day-to-day management. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Sara Aly