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Frequently Asked Questions

InCommon community

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about the InCommon community and how it works? Read on. If you don’t see your question answered, here, please visit our help page.

What is the InCommon community?

InCommon, like its parent organization Internet2, is governed and driven by its members and participants. InCommon was created by research and higher education institutions and serves those organizations and their commercial and corporate partners.

The community consists of anyone from any of those organizations who wishes to participate and contribute. The InCommon Steering Committee sets policy for the organization. Advisory groups like the InCommon Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Community Trust and Assurance Board (CTAB) provide guidance and technical expertise in developing, expanding, and maintaining InCommon services. All of these groups consist of volunteers from among all InCommon participants. See the leadership page for more information about these groups.

At the core are working groups, chartered for specific purposes and to explore technologies and services that may either affect or benefit InCommon participants. A list of working groups is available on the wiki.

What are working groups?

Working groups consist of community members interested in pursuing a certain topic, problem, or service. Recent working groups have looked at how to help institutions get collaboration ready, for example, or  have revised the specification for SAML, the language on which the federation relies. Working groups end their work with a written report that include conclusions and recommendations. A list of current and past working groups is available on the wiki.

InCommon governance and advisory boards (such as the InCommon Technical Advisory Commmittee and Community Trust and Assurance Board) charter working groups, based on predetermined priorities. Anyone with an interest in the topic can join a working group.

What’s this “community-driven” stuff?

It’s something we’re pretty proud of. InCommon, like our parent Internet2, is a membership organization. The community through our advisory and working groups identify the needs, develop the specifications and contribute to the testing and training on the new feature, service or participant practice. Much of the work that moves our services forward is accomplished by working groups, comprised of people from our member organizations. Those are the people who are on the front line of identity and access management and service delivery, and they know the problems and challenges, so they’re the best equipped to develop the solutions.

How do I get involved?

It is as simple as sending an email! We regularly communicate (on the email list participants@incommon.org) about new working groups spinning up, nominations opening for the governing and advisory boards, calls for proposals for conferences, and community review processes for working group and other reports. We also have community people involved in planning our meetings (like TechEx, Global Summit, and BaseCAMP). We always provide an email address to use if you’d like to respond or get involved.

For a list of ideas from putting your toe in the water to leading a working group, see Join the Community.

How much time will it take if I volunteer?

The simple answer is – as much time as you find valuable, based on your day job and your interest.

It could be as simple as joining an email list and helping someone with a problem that you’ve already solved.

Generally, working groups meet weekly or biweekly for an hour at a time. Typically there is some work to do in-between meetings, particularly as the group gets closer to making recommendations. You could plan on, say, 1-2 hours a week outside of the meetings.

If you have something in mind, contact us.