12. Metacat Authentication Mechanism

Metacat only supports ORCID authentication for administrative users. File-based or LDAP authentication is no longer available. Registering for an ORCID is simple, please visit:

After signing up for an ORCID iD, you may use it as an admin identity when first configuring Metacat authentication settings. Note, your full ORCID iD includes https://orcid.org/ not just the 16-digit ORCID iD:

This ORCID iD provides admin privileges and authorization to all Metacat features.

12.1. Custom Authentication

If ORCID authentication is not suitable for your deployment, a custom authentication mechanism can be built. Metacat is written such that this Authentication provider is replaceable with another class that implements the same interface (AuthInterface). As an Administrator, you have the choice to provide an alternative implementation of AuthInterface and then configure metacat-site.properties to use that class for authentication instead of ORCID authentication.


Before making any changes to Metacat’s properties files, it is highly recommended that you first read Properties Overview, for a detailed overview of how properties are used and updated in Metacat.

In summary:

  1. Metacat’s configuration settings are located in two files:

    • metacat.properties: a large, non-editable file, containing the default values for every single property recognized by Metacat, and

    • metacat-site.properties: a smaller, editable file, containing only the values that need to be changed to override the defaults.

  2. More-dynamic settings (such as authorization and database connection values) are managed with the Metacat Configuration utility (see Configuring Metacat). Whenever these settings are changed from their defaults, the new values are automatically saved to metacat-site.properties.

  3. More-static settings, which cannot be set via the Configuration utility, may also be changed in the metacat-site.properties file, either by editing existing property entries, or by adding them there if they do not already exist. Note that metacat.properties: should not be edited.

The default location for the metacat-site.properties file is /var/metacat/config/metacat-site.properties, but note that this location may have been changed via the Metacat Configuration utility. See Properties Overview for more details.