Project Description

The Florida Navigator Project is a cooperative, grant funded project.  The participants are Florida's Division of Library and Information Services, the Tampa Bay Library Consortium, and OCLC.  The goal is to establish a mechanism for efficient, cost effective, patron initated resource sharing throughout Florida.  

The Florida Navigator Project is designed to empower our patrons without increasing our workload or costs.  A tricky, but not impossible task.  The State is paying the 'up front' costs as part of their annual OCLC subscription.  All of the software lives on servers on the Web; no downloads are required.  Navigator Project delivery will use the existing Statewide Delivery system and add no additional costs to that system. 
Patrons will do their own searching, using a Google-like interface.  They will actually be searching WorldCat, but their search results will be filtered to float titles owned by project participants to the top of the list.  When a patron selects a title and clicks on Request, he will be asked to select his home library from a drop-down box.  Because the Navigator servers know who the participating libraries are, his library will be on the list.  He will also be asked for his library card number (or other ID number, such as Student ID).  When he enters that, Navigator will look him up in his local library's patron database.  If he is an eligible patron, the request process will continue.  If he is ineligible, the request process will stop, and he will be asked to resolve the problem with his local library.
Map and telescope
Let's say the patron in our example is eligible.  His request will be initiated, and he will be given a Request ID Number that lets him monitor the progress of his request.  Meanwhile, the back office part of Navigator (the Navigator Request Engine or "NRE") builds a request string for the patron.  Any WorldCat library that goes into the request string must be a Florida Navigator Project participant, own the requested title, be willing to lend the requested format, and have a loanable copy on the shelf "right now".  If more than one library meets all those criteria, the one that has filled a request the most recently goes to the end of the line.  The owning library that has gone the longest without filling a request goes to the head of the line.
The request appears in the Navigator staff interface "IN Box" of the most appropriate lending library a few milliseconds later.  Probably before the patron has finished reading, "Thank you for using Florida Navigator..." on his own PC.  ILL staff can print out a Pick List of all incoming requests--whether they have one or several--that contain shelf locations as well as call numbers.  Items retrieved from the shelves can be set to "sent" in the Navigator NRE interface with a couple of clicks, and the item itself goes into the orange Statewide Delivery bag.
The requesting patron's local ILL department will not have to work with the request until the item itself shows up in Delivery.  At that point, they handle it as they would any ILL item. The Navigator staff interface shows the current status of all active requests at all times.
Any project description this brief will leave some questions unanswered.  That's good!  It gives you a reason to explore the rest of this site in search of answers.  HINT:  It will be a very short search if you got to the next page:  Files and Resources.  Your questions--and the best answers we have so far--are probably there.  If they aren't, you can send your question to