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Science. 2002 May 17;296(5571):1302-5.

Identity and search in social networks.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA. djw24@columbia.edu

Abstract

Social networks have the surprising property of being "searchable": Ordinary people are capable of directing messages through their network of acquaintances to reach a specific but distant target person in only a few steps. We present a model that offers an explanation of social network searchability in terms of recognizable personal identities: sets of characteristics measured along a number of social dimensions. Our model defines a class of searchable networks and a method for searching them that may be applicable to many network search problems, including the location of data files in peer-to-peer networks, pages on the World Wide Web, and information in distributed databases.

PMID:
12016312
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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