The 1995 Follett Lecture will explore the impact of recent Internet developments and software access tools, such as Netscape, which facilitate information control by the end user at the desktop. If the user is now the centre of the information universe, what will be the role of libraries and librarians in the future networked environment? Will libraries and librarians indeed survive as we know them into the twenty first century? The Follett Lecture will outline the changing nature of academic publishing, as well as the communication patterns of academics and the merging of the roles of authors, publishers, booksellers, librarians and IT specialists. The focus for this will be global, reflecting the blurring of national boundaries as digital silk roads are created.