RefWorks: cause of Shibboleth error reported by some customers

The RefWorks technical team are aware of a known bug affecting their Shibboleth Service Provider (SP) which can cause authentication failures in one particular scenario.

The issue can arise when a student or staff member accesses RefWorks through a search engine look-up or by typing the domain name directly into their browser address bar, rather than through using library managed links to RefWorks.

This is because the RefWorks Shibboleth service treats differently requests which originate from http://www.refworks.com from those which originate from http://refworks.com

Login requests which begin from http://www.refworks.com will complete successfully, while requests which start from http://refworks.com will not, and will generate authentication failures and error messages.

To avoid the risk of these problems, the recommendation is to use the direct links to RefWorks on the library website, or to ensure that requests to RefWorks include the ‘www’ element in the web address.

The WAYFLess deep-link, which directs the user straight to the NTU Single Sign-on page, and then returns them (once successfully logged-in) to RefWorks is:

https://www.refworks.com/RWShibboleth?providerid=https://shib2idp.ntu.ac.uk/idp/shibboleth

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