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In this quick start, you will use a Fedora 4 server with the WebAC Authorization module enabled to create a sample resource and an ACL for that resource, verify that access to that resource is correctly restricted, and finally modify the ACL to allow you to update the resource.


  • Fedora 4 with WebAC module enabled (you can use one of the pre-built WAR files from the fcrepo-webapp-plus project)
  • curl

The commands in this guide assume that your Fedora 4 is running at http://localhost:8080/fcrepo.


Create these three files:

@prefix webac: <>.

<> a webac:Acl .
@prefix acl: <>.
@prefix dc: <>.

<> acl:accessControl </fcrepo/rest/acl>;
   dc:title "Hello, World!".
@prefix acl: <>.

<> a acl:Authorization;
   acl:accessTo </fcrepo/rest/foo>;
   acl:agent "user1";
   acl:mode acl:Read.

Upload these files into the repository:

$ curl -X PUT http://localhost:8080/fcrepo/rest/acl -u admin1:password3 \
    -H "Content-Type: text/turtle" --data-binary @acl.ttl
$ curl -X PUT http://localhost:8080/fcrepo/rest/foo -u admin1:password3 \
    -H "Content-Type: text/turtle" --data-binary @foo.ttl
$ curl -X PUT http://localhost:8080/fcrepo/rest/acl/authz -u admin1:password3 \
    -H "Content-Type: text/turtle" --data-binary @authz.ttl

(Note: The order you upload these in is important, since foo references acl, and authz references foo.)

Now user1 is able to read the resource at http://localhost:8080/rest/foo, but user2 cannot. To test this, try the following two commands:

$ curl -i http://localhost:8080/fcrepo/rest/foo -u user1:password1
$ curl -i http://localhost:8080/fcrepo/rest/foo -u user2:password2

The first request should succeed with a 200 OK response code, and the second should fail with a 403 Forbidden.

To demonstrate that user1 indeed only has read-only access to foo, we can try updating foo. Create a file named foo.sparql with the following contents:

PREFIX dc: <>

    <> dc:description "Quick Start with WebAC and Fedora 4".

Then run this to attempt to update foo:

$ curl -i -X PATCH http://localhost:8080/fcrepo/rest/foo -u user1:password1 \
      -H "Content-Type: application/sparql-update" \
      --data-binary @foo.sparql

This request should fail with a 403 Forbidden response, since user1 has read-only access to foo. To add write access for user1, we will need to update the acl/authz resource as admin. Create a file named authz.sparql with the following contents:

PREFIX acl: <>

    <> acl:mode acl:Write .

Run this command to update the ACL authorization:

$ curl -i -X PATCH http://localhost:8080/fcrepo/rest/acl/authz -u admin1:password3 \
      -H "Content-Type: application/sparql-update" \
      --data-binary @authz.sparql

If the update to the authorization was successful, you will see a 204 No Content response.

Now you should be able to re-run the earlier command to update the foo resource as user1:

$ curl -i -X PATCH http://localhost:8080/fcrepo/rest/foo -u user1:password1 \
      -H "Content-Type: application/sparql-update" \
      --data-binary @foo.sparql

Now this should return a 204 No Content response. To verify that the update happened, you can also go to http://localhost:8080/fcrepo/rest/foo in your web browser, and confirm that it has both dc:title and dc:description properties.

Access Control Link Header

When you perform a successful GET request on a resource that has an ACL associated with it (or with an ancestor), you will receive an additional header of the format.

Link: <http://localhost:8080/fcrepo/rest/acl>; rel="acl"

This can be used when indexing repository content to determine what the access controls on the resource are.

ACLs for the Repository Root

When creating an ACL to protect the repository root, you must include a trailing slash in the Authorizations's acl:accessTo predicate, otherwise the Authorization will not match the request URI, and won't get applied.

Non-Working Version
<> a acl:Authorization;
    acl:accessTo <https://localhost:8080/fcrepo/rest> .
Working Version
<> a acl:Authorization;
    acl:accessTo <https://localhost:8080/fcrepo/rest/> .
    # note this trailing slash ---------------------^

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  1. Peter Eichman, the quickstart should not assume that the user is a developer and therefore interested in building from source. Maybe start with a pre-built war:

    Or Jared Whiklo's soon available one-click webapp-plus:   FCREPO-1821 - Getting issue details... STATUS

  2. The commands in this guide assume that your Fedora 4 is running at http://localhost:8080 with an empty context path.

    It would be convenient if the context path of this "how to" and the one used in How to Use WebAC agentClass Groups were the same.

    1. Andrew Woods, I agree. Right now the disparity is due to the fact that I wrote up this quick start before Joshua Westgard's comment on the stakeholder call Wednesday about preferring to use the Vagrant. I am inclined to change this guide to assume a context path of /fcrepo.