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  • General Information about Entity Categories

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Basic Terminology

  • An entity category is a group of entities (SPs or IdPs or both) having a particular characteristic.
  • Membership in an entity category is indicated by an entity attribute in metadata.
  • An entity attribute is a SAML Attribute in a container of type mdattr:EntityAttributeType defined by the SAML V2.0 Metadata Extension for Entity Attributes, an Entity Attribute Profile of SAML Metadata.
  • An Entity Attribute Profile of SAML Metadata describes how SAML Attributes and Assertions may be added to SAML metadata extensions.
  • An Entity Category Profile of SAML Entity Attributes describes a specific entity attribute for categorizing entities according to some Entity Attribute Profile of SAML Metadata.

Types of Entity Categories

Both of the following are special types of entity categories:

  • A service category is a group of service providers with a common purpose. For example, the Research & Scholarship Category is a service category whose goal is to make attribute release more scalable.
  • support category is a group of entities that support a particular entity category in some fashion. If that entity category is itself a service category, the corresponding support category is a group of IdPs that support the service category in some manner. A given entity category may have multiple support categories. For example, there are two Research & Scholarship Support Categories used in the InCommon Federation.


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