lone arranger

n. an individual who is the only staff member or the only professional archivist working in an archives


One of the most distinctive terms in the archives profession, the term “lone arranger” is a pun created out of the name of the fictional Lone Ranger of radio and television fame. In the case of this term, “arranger,” only a part of an archivist’s job, is used to represent the whole of the archivist. The term appears to have been born as a single title in a series of PAKs (Problems in Archives Kits) put together by the Society of American Archivists in the early 1980s. These kits were assembled publications that included such items as reports, manuals, forms, sound tapes, as well as other material, rather than being simple paper publications. Although the term as originally intended suggests that the lone arranger is the only person working in an archives, the term is also used to refer to the only professional archivist in an archives that includes non-archivists, often part-timers, as staff.