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one thing that jumps to mind is steven spielberg's shoah foundation -

there were some very heavy efforts made by holocaust survivors to
track down and locate members of small european communities...perhaps
their own research team could shed some light, or some literature on
this area of survivor research...this kind of stuff that shoah was
doing looked at folks who were seeking one another out over literally
dozens of years...brings a very new meaning to the expression
'playing jewish geography' (yes, i'm jewish myself, so please don't
jump on me for that one)

on a much lighter note, VH1 (music videos etc) ran a show for a while
in which they tracked down former one-hit music industry wonders and
all of their cohorts..though james lipton has done this kind of
research behind the scenes for years with his 'inside the actor's
studio show' (putting together original entourages tracing back over
decades in film or stage)

now i think that i'm going in entirely the wrong direction with what
you're talking about...just re-read your note below ;)

At 03:56 PM 9/20/2005, Edward Vielmetti wrote:
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>I'm looking for some useful principles and theory
>here, and any references anyone happens to
>have that would be good.
>There's a schoolteacher from New Orleans who
>has relocated to Ann Arbor who I met for coffee
>today.  She'd like to get reunited with her students
>and fellow teachers, who have scattered to the four
>winds.  At the moment she knows where about 40
>folks are out of a school of 1400.
>In the small world of Ann Arbor, Mark Newman
>happened to stop by as we were having this
>conversation, and he suggested that an approach
>focusing on the "strength of weak ties" would be
>the best way to approach this - if you work narrowly
>on connecting back up with all your close friends,
>you'll miss most people, because they won't have
>the diversity of contacts you'll need.
>We'll start with some obvious things, like clipping
>services to look for news articles and an easy to
>find web site with comments turned on.  There
>will need to be a lot of phone calls and other
>legwork because it's by no means universal that
>the people who scattered have always-on network
>access, let alone laptops, let alone phones that
>reliably work.
>What other studies of network-connected diaspora
>would be useful to look at, or if this hasn't happened
>in the real world before, I'd even be content with
>getting some good fiction insights into what people
>would do.
>Edward Vielmetti in Ann Arbor, MI 48104
>+1 734 276 5910
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