OpenID has been generating quite a bit of interest as a lightweight decentralized approach to identity management on the web. There is a nice overview article by Andy Powell (Eduserv) and David Recordon (VeriSign) in the current issue of Ariadne, with some reflections on OpenID in an e-learning environment.
In the future, it may be the case that our institutions remain as Identity Providers (i.e. as the providers of usernames and passwords) in the way they are now. But it also seems increasingly likely that our students will begin turning up at schools, colleges and universities with perfectly good online identities (in much the same way that they now turn up with perfectly good email addresses) and that our educational institutions will have to begin functioning as Relying Parties (i.e. as the recipients of externally authenticated users). In short, students are part of the wider online community and their educational identity (persona) is only one facet of their lives. [Main Articles: 'OpenID: Decentralised Single Sign-on for the Web', Ariadne Issue 51]
This Ariadne issue carries its usual interesting range of contributions.