n.an individual who is the only staff member or the only formally trained archivist working in an archivesOetting and Brawley 19826W The Lone Arranger: Archival Life in Single-Person Repositories ¶ Archivists who work alone in small repositories face a range of problems not shared by their colleagues in larger archives.Campbell 1983, 112With educational offerings such as our workshop “Starting an Archives,” and the limited-enrollment session here entitled “The Lone Arranger,” we are undertaking to increase SAA’s services to the small, sometimes just emerging archives.Hass, Samuels, and Simmons 1985, 9An archivist with a staff of ten and hundreds of cubic feet of storage space will make significantly different appraisal decisions from a lone arranger.Galloway 2006, 116, fn. 128It may be worth observing that Rowland’s being essentially a “lone arranger” with a staff too small to escape his surveillance of their activities meant that the elasticity of resistance could not creep into the department’s activities while he was its director.Gasero et al. 2011, 2The term lone arranger began use in the regionals with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC), as best as I can trace. MARAC had put out what was called a Lone Arranger PAK—a set of resources for archivists who worked alone in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Lone Arranger sessions began to appear on the radar at regional meetings and then at the SAA conferences. From there, the lone arranger term took off, and we still have it.Gasero et al. 2011, 11Many archivists experience the joys and challenges of being lone arrangers on a daily basis and through this experience realize that outreach is a fundamental component of demonstrating worth and gaining needed resources.Robyns and Woolman 2011, 242This article reviews the process of this reconfiguration and argues in favor of institutional functional analysis as the most efficient and effective way for the lone arranger to conduct appraisal and arrangement of archival records.Hackbart-Dean and Slomba 2012, 36A long arranger is an individual who is the sole staff for an archives. This archivist wears numerous hats, including accessioning, donor relations, outreach, reference served, digital projects, and processing.Zamon 2012, 5As a lone arranger you need the basic knowledge to do it all without having to master it all.Zamon 2012, 39Small institutions are familiar with the challenges of minimal staff and tight budgets, but the digital age has placed an added stress to the increasingly complicated role of the lone arranger.Robyns 2014, xvThe term lone arranger is used in professional archival discourse to refer to archivists working alone and often in resource-poor institutions.Oestreicher 2020, 54In some institutions, a sole staff person, or “lone arranger,” manages all aspects of an archives, and lone arrangers are found across all types of repositories. A single person who is responsible for acquisitions, processing, preservation, reference, outreach, and more is challenged to extensively focus on any of these functions.
One of the most distinctive terms in the archives profession, 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 Problems in Archives Kits (PAKs) put together by the Society of American Archivists in the early 1980s. These kits were assembled publications that included 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 formally trained archivist in an archives that includes nonarchivists, often part-timers, as staff or volunteers.