The instinctive reaction amongst some academics to Google was to decry it. But people used Google anyway - it is convenient and it works. So instead we need to harness the power of the network. If I go to google.co.uk/scholar from within the University then resources the library holds show up in the results, with a "Get it@UoB" link that takes me to the full text. That's working with the network, not against it.
It's fantastic that we are already doing this, but we could be doing more.
We could export our library catalogue to WorldCat, the worldwide catalogue of over 10,000 libraries. It would make our holdings visible to a wider audience, while also benefiting our own staff and students. You can already search WorldCat from a mobile phone - not something we offer ourselves.
We could deposit all our PhD theses, and many of our published papers in ROSE, Bristol's e-print repository. This provides persistent, long-term, reliable storage for papers to reference papers. They show up in any search engine, exposing the research to new audiences. This increases the impact and reach of our research, enhancing our reputation.
These examples harness the power of a larger global network to enhance Bristol. In a networked world we must think globally, not institutionally.
Should we feel nervous? Once upon a time we were in control. People would come to the IT department with requests, and if we didn't like it we could just say no. Now in an Internet-connected world it is very easy to bypass us. Anyone can get a free webmail account from Hotmail. Laptops are cheap enough that people buy them with their own money. You can get network access from your mobile phone company. File storage and processor cycles cost just a few cents a GB from Amazon.
It may be a hoary chestnut, but this threat is also an opportunity. This is an exciting time to work in Information Technology or Information Management. We should be the trusted guide that people turn to. We won't have all the solutions ourselves, but can find them. For every requirement that comes along we should assess it pragmatically, considering the risks and benefits of different solutions. Some things we'll invent or deploy entirely in house. For others we will use a service delivered over the Internet. Often it will be a hybrid between the two. There is a huge amount for us to do with such services: to customise, build on top, integrate, and train people on them.
Just understanding all this is half the problem. You could read Edgeless University: why higher education must embrace technology from JISC. You could read the report from Sir David Melville (former VC of the University of Kent): the Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience. Both argue very strongly that higher education must embrace the web and new technology. Alternatively ask a real expert - try one of this years Freshers, who were three when the first web browser was released.