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Document status:  in progress

This page presents some basic concepts about the UW Groups Service that will help you use it, whether you are accessing it with a web browser or via a programmable client using the service's REST interface.

The Groups Service is provided for the use of the UW community, including users and organizations of all kinds.  It is a central location in which groups can be created and managed.  Groups information can be imported from other systems, and used in a wide variety of services and applications.

Group IDs and home groups

The Groups Service uses a structured space for group identifiers, known as UW Group IDs, that permits UW people and organizations to create and manage groups independently, much like a multi-user computer filesystem.  For each person or organization there is a "home group" on which groups can be based.

For individuals the home group is based on your UW NetID.  For example, if your UW NetID is "bob234", your home group is "u_bob234".  You can create groups based on this group ID, for example "u_bob234_friends".  Your home group is created the first time you sign on to the Groups Service, so you are all set to create and manage personal groups.

Many UW organizations use supplemental accounts (also known as shared UW NetIDs) to hold organizational resources such as web sites or email.  These accounts can also be used for groups, and have their own home groups.  For example, a supplemental account "dept456" would have the home group "u_dept456".  To have a home group created for a supplemental UW NetID, send email to

For other UW organizations there is another group namespace, "uw", that may be more convenient.  If your organization has its own UW Domain Name System namespace under you can use that same name for group IDs.  For example, if an organization manages computer names under "", it can have a home group of "uw_org789".  To have a home group created for your organization using this space, send email to

UW Group IDs consist of lower-case letters (a-z), digits (0-9), dash ("-") and underscore ("_").  The underscore character is used to separate components of names, much like slash ("/") or backslash ("\") is used in filenames or URLs.


Groups may have members of several types:






Any type of UW NetID may be used

Federated ID

An ID from some non-UW source, in user@domain format

DNS name

Any DNS name, typically used for names in UW-issued X.509 certificates

UW Group ID


Any other UW Group ID

Access control

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