As of August 1st, 2008, the Edutech web site will no longer be updated. Edutech was funded by the Swiss Virtual Campus programme, which ended on July 31st, 2008. Some activities will be taken over by the e-Learning Services group at the SWITCH foundation.
AAI stands for Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure
AAI is a system (infrastructure) that checks to make sure your user name is valid (authentication) and then makes sure that you are allowed to view the web resource you're asking for (authorization).
A link to an aai-enabled resource might have this logo after it:
When you see a SWITCHaai logo (or if you're asked to authenticate yourself via SwitchAAI), then the web resource you're accessing is AAI enabled. An AAI enabled resource offers an AAI login. That means that you can use your university or Fachhochschule username and password for that login if you are a member of an institution that is a SwitchAAI "Home Oraganisation" (In Vista: eLab - Svizzera Italiana, EPF-L, ETH-Z, FHO, Uni Basel, Uni Bern, Uni Fribourg, Uni Genève, Uni Lausanne, Uni Zurich, SWITCH, ZFH).
Being able to use the same username and password (the one your university or FH gave you) to log in to other resources is just one convenience.
There's another convenience: when you log in successfully to an AAI enabled resource, the authentication part (who you are) is valid for as long as your browser is open (the browser session). If you log in to another AAI enabled web resource, you won't have to enter your name and password again - a very convenient benefit of using AAI enabled resources. This is the advantage of a so-called "single sign on".
Beware! It's a double-edged convenience and with it comes responsibility: make sure you exit the browser entirely after using a public computer! Otherwise the next person who comes along could use your login information to access resources they don't have permission to.
How does it work?
Authentication: The AAI system lets your home organisation - usually your educational institution - check that your user name and password are valid for that institution.
Authorization: After your institution confirms your login info, AAI then lets the web resource decide whether you can access it or not. If the web resource says that you are allowed access to it, the system lets you through to view it.