lone arranger

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


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.