It will join other industry leaders including Sun, General Motors, Nokia, United Airlines, AOL Time Warner and American Express, in hammering out the business rules and technology components needed for an alternative to Microsoft's Passport network identity model.
Passport has been criticised by those who fear the prospect of network identity falling under the control of a single vendor.
Novell intends to lend its experience in identity management and single sign-on, including its eDirectory technology, to the policy, marketing, and technology committees of the Liberty Alliance.
"Novell brings its expertise in identity management from the enterprise and e-business space to the table," said Justin Taylor, chief strategist for directory services at the company.
The company also plans to share lessons learned from an earlier experiment with online identity management called digitalme. The eDirectory-based user authentication service was launched in October 1999, designed to give online users access to single sign-on while maintaining control over personal information.
The Liberty Alliance has gathered significant momentum recently and Microsoft has signalled that it may join the Liberty effort or link its Passport technology to the Liberty effort.
Marge Breya, Sun's representative on the Liberty Alliance said: "No single entity should have [control] of identity and preference information. The goal of [the Liberty Alliance] is to allow information to stay as it is today: with entities you trust," she said.