On my web page, I ask students who want a letter of recommendation to talk with me about it. I also ask for specific information, such as what classes they took, how they distinguished themselves, etc. The purpose, of course, is to write strong letters for the good students and to encourage others to ask someone else.
Today I received an automated letter of recommendation request (from the institution to which he applied) for a student who graduated years ago from a different institution. I know from my own records how he did in my classes, but I have no other information available. I have no contact information for the student.
I can write a semi-strong letter based on grades alone, I can ask the institution to which he applied for contact information, or I can continue to try to track him down some other way. (I've already tried the usual methods of Google, Facebook, etc.)
Should I write the semi-strong letter, contact the institution to which he applied, or do some third thing?