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Properties of networks are often characterized in terms of features such as node degree distributions, average path lengths, diameters, or clustering coefficients. Here, we study shortest path length distributions. On the one hand, average as well as maximum distances can be determined therefrom; on the other hand, they are closely related to the dynamics of network spreading processes. Because of the combinatorial nature of networks, we apply maximum entropy arguments to derive a general,arXiv:1501.04232v1 fatcat:wamjvej7gze7pe3peaa5g3py6i