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SURFconext, showcasing a new collaboration paradigm

In research and education, efficient ways for sharing data, content and functionality is paramount to meet modern collaboration needs. The availability of new collaboration services rises quickly, offering new opportunities every time. This abundance of services creates however an on-going challenge of integrating these into campus and collaboration infrastructures. To engage this challenging field, the SURFnet Collaboration Infrastructure project1 created a new, innovative infrastructure called SURFconext2. This new infrastructure facilitates loosely coupled integration of local and remote services by creating a synergy of existing standards and concepts like federated identity3, group management4,5, social networking6 and web based collaboration applications. This paper discusses the online collaboration needs of users, the implications for institutions and Virtual Organizations, and briefly describes SURFnet’s vision in regard to future collaboration platforms. It goes into dealing with institutional and vendor provided services and showcases how combining standards, concepts and technology can be turned into a fully operational collaboration platform, setting the stage for a new collaboration paradigm.

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