Setting up access with CILogon certificate

DUNE has such a good explanation that... well, this is a copy of it.

First: Why would you want to do this?

CILogon provides a free, year-long certificate that you can load into your browser and use for accessing the SBN DocDb. Note that this compares with the one-week long KCA certificate (now going to be discontinued).

When accessing DocDB using a certificate, you will be able to access all the documents you have permissions to access with no username/password entry required1.

The CILogon Certificate discussed below can not be used to digitally sign email.

Instructions for getting a CILogon Certificate and importing the certificate into your browser

There are three steps, documented below:

  1. get a CILogon certificate (once every year)
  2. importing that certificate in your browser (once every year)
  3. registering with SBN DocDB (once every life)

Generating or renewing a certificate

This is something you need to do once per year. You can copy the certificate file on different machines (e.g., your phone, your laptop, your home desktop), or you can have different ones at the same time, all of which identify you.
No penalty in doing this more often.

  1. point your browser at
  2. look through the list of supported Identity Providers
    • if your institution is in that list (if that's Fermilab, see the next option instead):
      1. select it and click the 'Log On' button
      2. follow the log in procedure; this is specific to the institution you have picked
    • if your institution is not on that list, and you have accounts at Fermilab:
      1. select Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and click the "Log On" button
      2. enter your Services username and password (the same you access ServiceNow and Fermilab e-mail with; and the user name is just that, without or anything) and click the "Login" button
  3. if you do not have accounts at Fermi and your institution is not in the list (and you are a part of SBND, of course):
    • you will need to obtain an account with one of the institutions supporting CILogon (hint: Fermilab ) before proceeding with the instructions on this page
  4. enter a Password to protect your to be generated certificate; do it! You will tell your browser to remember it for you, in the end
  5. click “Get New Certificate”, then the 'Click Here To Download Your Certificate' button
  6. save it to your computer, and make a note of where you save it: this file is your certificate, and you will need to upload this file to your browser(s)

Loading the certificate into your browser

There are too many web browsers around, and they use too many different approaches, and they change them too often.
If you find this information is outdated (because you have the most recent browser and it works different from here), feel free to update the pertaining section, also indicating which version you are describing.
A search engine will likely give you better information than this anyway. But what you are going to do is:

  1. look for the proper secrity/certificate settings page of your browser
  2. tell your browser to "import" your "p12" certificate

Safari, and Vivaldi and Chrome on OSX

These browsers use the operating system's "key chain" to access certificates.

  1. click on the certificate that has been downloaded (check the downloads folder). This will add it to your O.S. keychain for use with Safari.

Vivaldi and Chrome on Linux

  1. go to the URL: chrome://settings/certificates (yes, in Vivaldi too)
    • you might need to tell Vivaldi to have preferences shown in a tab rather than in a dialogue window...

Chrome on Windows

  1. go to the URL: chrome://settings, look for "Advanced Settings"
  2. in there, there should be a "Manage Certificates" where you can Import them


(tested on OSX version 47)

  1. access the encryption preferences on the Firefox menu bar
    • in OSX, pick "Preferences" from the "Firefox" menu, then pick the "Advanced" tab and the "Certificates" tab
    • in Windows, pick the "Options" menu, select 'Advanced' icon at the top and finally the "Encryption" tab
  2. pick the "View Certificates" button, then the "Your Certificates" tab
  3. click "Import" at the bottom and follow the instructions to import your certificate

Internet Explorer

  1. double click on the saved certificate file
  2. select 'Next' on the wizard (twice)
  3. enter the password you entered for the certificate
  4. keep the default options and click on "Next" until you get to "Finish"

Access to SBN DocDB

After you get your first certificate, you'll have to ask the DocDB administrators for access with that new credential.
This appears to be needed only once.

Applying for Access to DocDB using this certificate

If you are just renewing a certificate that has not already expired, you will not need to reregister with SBND DocDB.
Otherwise, you have to register and present your new certificate, and a human has to accept you in (so it may take one day).
  1. point your certificate-aware browser to SBND DocDB:
  2. click "_apply for access_"
  3. you'll be asked which access groups you want to join (if unsure, pick only SBN)

Accessing DocDB once you have certificate access

  1. ​go to SBND DocDB:
  2. if prompted, now or at the next step, by the browser to choose a certificate to use, choose the same certificate you used to apply for access
  3. choose the "Certificate Version of SBN DocDB" as the link to follow

1 Note however that the URL is different: if you are sent a link copied from a person who used password authentication, following that link you will be asked for password authentication. This does not mean you don't have access to the document, but just that the URL you are following should be changed.
You can always go DocDB, authenticate as you wish and then search for the document number.