The function or feature discussed below is only relevant to members of the beta programme

OpenAthens can connect directly to an LDAP server so that you do not have to issue personal accounts for your users (you will still need your OpenAthens administrator account though). Anything that uses standard LDAP protocols is acceptable so this works very well with ActiveDirectory too.

As well as the ability to use local accounts instead of maintaining a separate set of credentials, accesses to federated resources that already involve discovery (identifying the users' home organisation) will take the user directly to your LDAP login at our authentication point - no further discovery is required.


Before you start you will need:

Add the connection

In the administration interface go to Management > Connections

  1. Click the add button on the left and select LDAP

  2. Have your colleague from the IT team complete the form and click add at the bottom.

  3. If your connection requires a certificate, the status panel will show errors until it is added:

    You can hover over the panel for more details about an error

  4. Switch to the certificate tab and paste in the contents of the certificate file which should look similar to this:

    -----END CERTIFICATE-----
  5. . This will be converted to a summary panel:

  6. Save changes

  7. The status panel will update and should now show success if it did not before

  8. You should be able to use the test authentication button now with your own username and password.
Final steps

Once you have defined the login box text to suit your organisation (on the login page tab) you are ready to deal with the final two configuration areas:

When you're ready to go live, check both the live and visible boxes and then save. Your new connection should be available on the authentication point in a few seconds.

How to test

There will be more functions available later, but during the beta you can just set it as live and visible and start using it on the authentication point

How to use LDAP alongside MD accounts

If this is your only local connection, once you set this as both live and visible it becomes your default way for users to log into OpenAthens where the system knows the user is yours - e.g. where the user has selected your organisation from a WAYF on a federated resource or remembers a users previous choice. Where the system does not know the user is yours only the OpenAthens account login will appear, but the user can find you via the search box at which point a button that takes the user to you becomes available.

Users with OpenAthens accounts can still log in by clicking the OpenAthens link on the page to switch their input. This gives you options for providing access to users who you do not have in your directory such as temporary users, walk-ins or test accounts for suppliers.


What the fields are for


The name of the connection as it will appear to users at our authentication point.

Directory type

Used to set default values in other places on the form.

Server host

The address where OpenAthens can connect to your server. This address will need to be accessible by our services from outside of your network.

Server port

The port that your server uses for LDAP traffic. You can specify a non-standard port if necessary.

Connection type

The form of security used. StartTLS is the standard but ldaps:// can be chosen if you prefer.

Admin bind DN

The full distinguished name of a user that can connect and view all the users you need to authenticate, e.g:


Bind password

The password for the user specified in the admin bind

Base DN

The distinguished name of your directory, e.g:



Allows you to specify the username field, plus limitations where necessary. The field you identify as =${uid} will be used as the username in login dialogs
Unique user attributeThis should be an attribute that will always be unique to that user and it is used in the generation of targetedIDs. It defaults in AD to 'objectGUID'.
Salt value

The salt used to generate a targetedID. This is intended to be used when you are migrating from something like OpenAthens LA to MD and is provided so that your users can have the same targetedID value when they change systems.

Leaving it blank is usually the correct thing to do (uses the same seed as your MD accounts). Modifying this after you go live will change the identifiers seen by service providers for all your users which is something that is very rarely desirable.


Live & visible = production ready. Users will be able to access this login at the authentication point. If you have only one connection it will become the default login whenever your organisation is known (e.g. for any resources where access involves your entityID).

Live and not visible = testing mode. Will work with the supplied test URL (when available), but the authentication point will only use OpenAthens accounts.

Not live = cannot be used. The visibility setting is ignored.

Changes to the status usually take effect within moments.

Example filters

Instead of specifying only a username field, the use of a filter allows compatibility with a greater variety of LDAP structures - e.g. where including all valid users requires binding to a node that will also include invalid users, the filter can be set to exclude the invalid users.

cn=${uid} - The default LDAP filter using common name as the username

mail=${uid} - An example LDAP filter using email address as the username

(&(objectCategory=Person)(sAMAccountName=${uid})) - The Default ActiveDirectory filter uses the Windows login as the username and requires the user to have an object category of person.

(&(objectCategory=Person)(|(mail=${uid})(sAMAccountName=${uid}))) - An example where the default has been modified to accept either the email address or the Windows username as the username along with the object category of perosn.

(&(objectCategory=Person)(mail=${uid})(memberOf=cn=students,dc=domain,dc=com)) - An example ActiveDirectory filter still requiring the user to have an object category of person but this time using the primary email address as the username and additionally limited to users in the students security group.

If IT want to know what happens during an authentication...

During set-up and configuration

During user authentications

All connections from us will come from specified IP addresses and any changes would be communicated in advance.