Webinar recap: Restricting access in Islandora

Webinar recap: Restricting access in Islandora

The PALS Islandora community held a webinar on restricting access in Islandora on Monday July 10th.  This was in some ways a continuation of discussion we held at the first Islandora workday in April, but it also really helped us gauge the needs of our partners when it comes to access restrictions.

It started with a brief overview of the different ways one can restrict access in Islandora:

  • Restricting access with Drupal:  This allows you to set up different “roles” with a Drupal login.  For example, a student, or a staff member.  Each role can have specific permissions.  A student might be able to view objects, search, and edit metadata, but not delete anything.  A staff member would be able to delete.  Using Drupal logins and roles essentially restricts access/functionality.
  • XACML:  This is a Fedora security feature.   Essentially this allows us to encode control policies, controlling access to Fedora collections, objects, and datastreams (derivatives)  It is possible to restrict objects at different levels.  For example, one could control access to different datastreams.  Thus a general user could see the metadata for an object, but not view the actual object itself.  Unlike Drupal logins and roles, XACML allows access.  So when setting a XACML policy, an administrator is allowing the user to view, for example, the PDF datastream (derivative).
  •  Restricting access with Embargo:  Using embargo allows you to control content and access, and has additional functionality.  You are able to control access at the collection level, to the object, or to the datastream.  One is also able to control access with keywords in the metadata.  Additional functionality includes setting a date on which an embargo expires, or to make the embargo permanent.  When a date is reached, the embargo lifts automatically. Also when one is attempting to access an embargoed item, it is possible to redirect a user to a specific URL (for example, to a photographer’s website).

The goal of the webinar was to talk with our partners and determine needs and priorities.  There are four different embargo modules that we are aware of; only one is included in the Islandora release.  Others are from Simon Fraser University, Discovery Garden, and Florida State University.  We wanted to know which one might work best, or if we needed to take parts of different ones.  The discussion in this webinar resulted in a spreadsheet that will be very useful for us to take a look at these modules and decide which one(s) to use.

We will hold our next webinar in a couple of months, after the Summer.  Depending on the topic and goals we do hope to provide a recording.


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