The University of Chicago Library states that a deed of gift must contain the following information: donor and institution information, a description of the item, a statement transferring legal ownership from the donor to the organization receiving the gift, a statement that the gift is permanent, and instructions for what is to be done with unwanted items. Individual institutions may add additional information.
The Society of American Archivists explains that a deed of gift is a legally binding contract between a donor and repository that transfers ownership and rights from the original owner to the institution. The institution, the donor, and the gift should be clearly identified in the deed of gift. The transfer of ownership sets a date when the repository takes ownership of the item. Institutions only undertake the costly preservation and insurance of an item if they are granted ownership. Often, a gift includes worthless material, and once the repository takes ownership, it separates materials to be kept and materials to be discarded. Both parties must sign the deed.
Extra provisions regulate things such as how the repository can use the item, and the amount of access that the pubic or scholars have to the collection, explains the University of Chicago Library. Additional clauses in the deed of gift cover the legal question of who retains intellectual property rights to the collection. It seeks to establish whether the original owner retained intellectual property rights and transferred them legally to the repository, or if they belong to another organization, such as a book publisher or a record label. Finally, some deed of gifts contain tax provisions and information.