Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) Authentication


SAML is an authentication method that allows for Identity Providers (You) and Service Providers (VitalSource) to securely exchange data. 

VitalSource supports the (SP) initiated workflow.


Identity Provider (IdP) This is your SAML instance. It is where your users will login to authenticate. Some common IdP systems are Shibboleth, Google, Open Athens and Azure, but there are many others. 

Service Provider (SP) - VitalSource Launch is the SAML SP for this integration. 



SAML Setup Instructions 

Every SAML instance is a little different, but here are a few things they all have in common that you will want to have set.

Step 1: Ensure the setup is configured for "persistent" users.

This will ensure that the student gets to the same account each time and is only provisioned content one time. 


Step 2: Add the link to VitalSource’s metadata file to your configuration 


Common setup values:

  • Assertion Consumer Service (ACS)/Reply URL:
  • Identifier/Entity ID:


 Step 3: Send VitalSource information about your SAML instance

Send the following information to your VitalSource Customer Success Manager.

  1. The type of SAML IdP being used 
  2. Your SAML IDP METADATA URL (It will end in .xml) If you do not have a hosted URL, please send the XML file itself. Ensure you select to export your unique certificate value rather than using a generic value.
  3. A time-limited IdP STUDENT test account login/password.


Step 4: Add a unique VitalSource URL to your system

Once the configuration is in place, VitalSource will test the configuration and provide you with a unique link to access the content. When users login to your SAML system and click on the link, they will be able to access their materials. 





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