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Collaboration between universities and Crown Research Institutes

New collaborative service for universities and Crown Research Institutes

A new collaborative online service for New Zealand universities and Crown Research Institutes officially launches today.

Named Tuakiri – New Zealand Access Federation, the service enables participating institutions to use their home institution login to access a growing number of national and international resources, thus helping foster education and research development in New Zealand.

Liz Coulter, President of the Tuakiri Access Federation Inc. and Director of IT Services at The University of Auckland says Tuakiri helps bring New Zealand in line with other similar services available at education and research institutions in Australia, the US, UK and Europe.

“There are currently 26 other similar services, which are often referred to as federated access services, worldwide and we have implemented a similar service in New Zealand,” she says.

“We’ve been developing Tuakiri for the past 18 months, working closely with the Australian Access Federation Inc., (AAF), which is in many ways similar to Tuakiri, looking at their policies and software, learning from what they did when setting up AAF and drawing on their best practices.”

Sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and developed by The University of Auckland – in conjunction with project partners Landcare Research and the University of Canterbury – Tuakiri builds on earlier work establishing federated service delivery models across New Zealand’s research sector within the BeSTGRID project, which ran from 2006 through 2011.

The Tuakiri pilot programme kicked off at The University of Auckland in June 2011, with Landcare Research, Auckland University of Technology, Lincoln University, University of Canterbury, and Massey University also taking part.

“Today we’re excited to officially launch a service representing a first of its kind for New Zealand, with eight New Zealand universities and eight Crown Research Institutes already signed up to be a part of Tuakiri.

“In effect, Tuakiri allows staff and students from universities and research institutes around New Zealand to share information in a way they haven’t been able to in the past,” she says.

Tuakiri members can access up-to-date research, e-books and library resources, securely and easily, from remote locations using a single set of login credentials provided by their home institution. A further benefit is that it reduces the overhead for managing multiple user accounts for different services.

Nick Jones, Director of New Zealand eScience Infrastructure, (NeSI), says NeSI is a key supporter of Tuakiri and has already adopted it as its primary access mechanism for its services.

“As one of a number of institutions across the higher education and research sector already signed up with full membership for Tuakiri, I see this as a strong indication of the enthusiasm for new models of collaboration across the research sector,” Mr Jones says.

Commenting further on what Tuakiri means, Ms Coulter also says “Tuakiri marks a very positive step towards an increasingly collaborative approach to research and education in New Zealand. Our immediate plan for Tuakiri is to broaden the portfolio of services available, along with its reach to include polytechnics and Māori educational institutes. There could also be potential to extend the federation service to the compulsory New Zealand school sector.

“In the future we hope to interlink with other federations to enable Tuakiri members to access research and educational resources and service providers based in Australia, Europe and the US.”

Tuakiri is self-funding, operating off a membership subscription base where participants pay an annual membership fee.

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