Targeted ID   coreshow all attributes
Name eduPersonTargetedID
Description A persistent, non-reassigned, opaque identifier for a principal
Vocabulary not applicable, no controlled vocabulary
References eduPerson, SAML-core
OIDC n/a
LDAP Syntax Directory String
# of values multi
Example values


"eduPersonTargetedID is DEPRECATED in eduPerson 2020-01 and will be marked as obsolete in a future version of this specification.
Its equivalent definition in SAML 2.0 has been replaced by a new specification for standard Subject Identifier attributesSAML-subject-id, one of which ( pairwise-id ) is a direct replacement for this identifier with a simpler syntax and safer comparison rules.
Existing use of this attribute in SAML 1.1 or SAML 2.0 should be phased out in favor of the new Subject Identifier attributes."


eduPersonTargetedID is an abstracted version of the SAML V2.0 Name Identifier format of urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent. In SAML, this is an XML construct consisting of a string value inside a <saml:NameID> element along with a number of XML attributes, of most significance NameQualifier and SPNameQualifier, which identify the source and intended audience of the value. It is left to specific profiles to define alternate syntaxes, if any, to the standard XML representation used in SAML.

In abstract terms, an eduPersonTargetedID value is a tuple consisting of an opaque identifier for the principal, a name for the source of the identifier, and a name for the intended audience of the identifier. The source of the identifier is termed an identity provider and the name of the source takes the form of a SAML V2.0 entityID, which is an absolute URI. The name of the intended audience also takes the form of an absolute URI, and may refer to a single service provider or a collection of service providers (for which SAML V2.0 uses the term "Affiliation", not to be confused with the ordinary eduPerson use of the term).

Per the SAML format definition, the identifier portion MUST NOT exceed 256 characters, and the source and audience URI values MUST NOT exceed 1024 characters.

In SAML, a service provider is an abstract designation and may or may not refer to a single application or physical system. As a result, and because service providers may be grouped arbitrarily into "Affiliations" for policy purposes, the intended audience of an eduPersonTargetedID may be (and often is) limited to a single "target" application, or may consist of a large number of related applications. This is at the discretion of the identity provider. The value of the principal identifier SHOULD be different for different "audience" values, but this is also at the discretion of the identity provider.

This attribute may or may not be stored in a typical Directory Service because of its potential variance by relying party, but it is defined here for use in other service contexts such as Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) assertions. It is typically used in federated scenarios in which more typical opaque identifiers lack appropriate uniqueness guarantees across multiple identity providers.

More specific requirements and guidance follows.


As defined by SAML, eduPersonTargetedID values are not required to have a specific lifetime, but the association SHOULD be maintained longer than a single user interaction and long enough to be useful as a key for consuming services. Protocols might also be used to refresh (or "roll-over") an identifier by communicating such changes to service providers to avoid a loss of service. (SAML V2.0 includes one such example.) This may be needed in the event that the association between the principal and the identifier becomes public, if privacy requirements are involved.


This attribute is designed in part to aid in the preservation of user privacy. It is therefore REQUIRED to be opaque, having no particular relationship to the principal's other identifiers, such as a local username. It MAY be a pseudorandom value generated and stored by the identity provider, or MAY be derived from some function over the audience's identity and other principal-specific input(s), such as a serial number or UUID assigned by the identity provider.

This attribute is also designed to inhibit, when appropriate, the ability of multiple unrelated services to correlate user activity by comparing values. This is achieved when desired by varying the identifier based on the intended audience.

In other words, there is no guarantee of non-correlation, but there is an assumption of non-correlation from the relying party's perspective outside of explicitly arranged "Affiliations" of relying parties and cooperating identity providers prepared to recognize them.


A value of this attribute is intended only for consumption by a specific audience of services (often a single one). Values of this attribute therefore MUST be unique within the namespace of the identity provider and the namespace of the service provider(s) for whom the value is created. The value is "qualified" by these two namespaces and need not be unique outside them; the uniqueness of the identifier therefore depends on all three pieces of information.


A distinguishing feature of this attribute is that it prohibits re-assignment. Since the values are opaque, there is no meaning attached to any particular value beyond its identification of the principal. Therefore particular values created by an identity provider MUST NOT be re-assigned such that the same value given to a particular service provider refers to two different principals at different points in time.

Human Palatability

This attribute does not meet requirements for human palatability or readability. It is ill-suited for display to end users or administrators, and is not useful for provisioning accounts ahead of initial access by users since the value will rarely be known by users or administrators. It may be accompanied by other attributes more suited to such purposes, in which case its privacy properties are presumably of no interest, but the lack of reassignment often is.

Example applications

  • Service providers or directory-enabled applications with the need to maintain a persistent but opaque identifier for a given user for purposes of personalization or record-keeping.

  • Identity or service providers or directory-enabled applications with the need to link an external account to an internal account maintained within their own system. This attribute is often used to represent a long-term account linking relationship between an identity provider and service provider(s) (or other identity/attribute provider).

All attribute definitions in a single document: Switch edu-ID Attribute Specification