2.2.1. eduPersonAffiliation (defined in eduPerson 1.0); OID:

RFC 4512 definition

NAME 'eduPersonAffiliation'

DESC 'eduPerson per Internet2 and EDUCAUSE'

EQUALITY caseIgnoreMatch


Application utility class: standard; # of values: multi


Specifies the person's relationship(s) to the institution in broad categories such as student, faculty, staff, alum, etc. (See controlled vocabulary).

Permissible values

faculty, student, staff, alum, member, affiliate, employee, library-walk-in

If there is a value in eduPersonPrimaryAffiliation, that value MUST be asserted here as well.

If the terms faculty and staff are in common use at an institution, there is no need for the employee affiliation.

The list of allowed values in the current version of the object class is CERTAINLY incomplete. We felt that any additional values should come out of discussions with the stakeholder communities. Any agreed-upon additional values will be included as part of the later versions of eduPerson.

"Member" is intended to include faculty, staff, student, and other persons with a basic set of privileges that go with membership in the university community (e.g., they are given institutional calendar privileges, library privileges and/or vpn accounts). It could be glossed as "member in good standing of the university community."

The "member" affiliation MUST be asserted for people carrying one or more of the following affiliations:

  • faculty or
  • staff or
  • student or
  • employee

Note: Holders of the affiliation "alum" are not typically "members" since they are NOT eligible for the full set of institutional privileges enjoyed by faculty, staff and students.

The "affiliate" value for eduPersonAffiliation indicates that the holder has some definable affiliation to the university NOT captured by any of faculty, staff, student, employee, alum and/or member. Typical examples might include event volunteers, parents of students, guests and external auditors. There are likely to be widely varying definitions of "affiliate" across institutions. Given that, "affiliate" is of dubious value in federated, inter-institutional use cases.

For the sake of completeness, if for some reason the institution carries digital identity information for people with whom it has no affiliation according to the above definitions, no eduPersonAffiliation should be asserted for those individuals.

"Library-walk-in:" This term was created to cover the case where physical presence in a library facility grants someone access to electronic resources typically licensed for faculty, staff and students. In recent years the library walk-in provision has been extended to cover other cases such as library users on the campus network, or those using on-campus workstations. Licensed resource providers have often been willing to interpret their contracts with licensees to accept this broader definition of "library-walk-in," though specific terms may vary.

The presence of other affiliation values neither implies nor precludes the affiliation "library-walk-in."

It is not feasible to attempt to reach broad-scale, precise and binding inter-institutional definitions of affiliations such as faculty and students. Organizations have a variety of business practices and institutional specific uses of common terms. Therefore each institution will decide the criteria for membership in each affiliation classification. What is desirable is that a reasonable person should find an institution's definition of the affiliation plausible.

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