1. What is the Oxford username and Single Sign-On?
Your Oxford username is usually of the form
abcd1234, where abcd
is a code for your college or department1. It is administered by OUCS and is separate from any
other local college or departmental accounts you may have.
Your Oxford username gives you access to many web-based services at Oxford (e.g. WebLearn, Self-Registration, course booking) through Oxford's Web Single Sign-On service (Webauth). Single Sign-On means that after your initial login, you can use associated services without having to re-enter your username and password.
It isn't just web-based services that are part of Single-Sign On: you will need your Oxford username to access the central GNU/Linux service and your personal web pages. There are also many services hosted outside OUCS that use Single Sign-On such as some library resources and the OxCORT Tutorial system.
You will also need your Oxford username to access your Nexus account via the web interface or via an email client installed on your computer. Strictly speaking the Nexus service is not fully integrated with Oxford's Single Sign On system and so even if you have logged in to the Nexus web interface you will still need to log in again to access other SSO services; more on this later.
You may hear your Oxford username referred to as your Single Sign-On account (or SSO account), your Webauth account and you may even hear it referred to simply by using the name of a service, eg your Nexus account.
2. Single Sign-On, Webauth, and Nexus - what does it all mean?
Despite the many names you might hear being used, things are really quite simple. Your Oxford username and password can be used to login to Webauth – this will start a Single Sign-On session to avoid you having to re-enter your details. The same Oxford username and password are used to login to Nexus (over the web or using a desktop client).
Figure webauth-loginscreen.png [The Webauth login screen]
Webauth also provides options to change your password, reset an expired password, and recover a forgotten password.
With the exception of the Nexus web interface (more on this below), Webauth is the only web page where you should enter your Oxford username and password. You can think of Webauth as a central authentication system that is trusted by various services in Oxford to handle all the username and password checking so that each individual service doesn't need to do it for itself. It is highly secure and very convenient as you only need to enter your username and password once in order to visit multiple independent web services. To end your Single Sign-On session ("logout") you will need to close your web browser (that includes quitting all running copies of your web browser.
Figure nexus-screen.png [The Nexus web access login screen]
Your username and password are the same ones that you use for Webauth.
3. Services using the Oxford Username
These services are, however, requested and managed through the OUCS self-registration pages which are SSO-enabled. In other words whilst these services use a different username and password you still need an Oxford username to manage your access to these services.
An increasing number of local college and departmental applications now use SSO so you may even find yourself logging in via Webauth to access a local helpdesk, connect to your college's local Ethernet network or even book a meal.
4. Remote access is different!
If you need to connect to the University network from another institution, from home or wirelessly you need the OUCS remote access service. Although the remote access account uses your Oxford username it is not integrated with the Single Sign-On system and has a different password.
Current students, staff and official visitors may register for a remote access account via the OUCS self-registration pages and you will need to use your Oxford username to register and manage your remote access account.
To find out more see the remote access pages.
5. Browsers accessing Oxford's web based services
Most web browsers (including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari) work with Oxford's web services out-of-the-box.
6. What do to about a forgotten or expired Oxford username or password
Note : If your University Card expires your Oxford username account will expire simultaneously. Your Oxford username account may also be expired on instruction from the Proctors or Registrar.