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How to Create a VIRIN

How to Create a Visual Information Reference Identification Number (VIRIN)

VIRINs uniquely identify every image shot by DoD photographers by using four pieces of information: the date the image was shot, the Service of the photographer, an identification of the photographer, and a sequence number.

Here is an example:

Graphic - VIRIN Sample

The components of the VIRIN are:

Field 1 — 060515: Date the image was shot (YYMMDD format)
Field 2 — M: The Service affiliation or status of the acquirer or originator (see the codes listed below)
Field 3 — AA987: VISION ID (see below) or DVIAN>
Field 4 — 1001: The first digit indicates the sequence of scenes, locations, or assignments where a photographer or videographer produced content during a single day, starting with 1 and continuing as necessary to 9. For each of these numbered scenes, locations, or assignments, the next three digits indicate the order in which each unit of media was acquired starting with 001 and continuing as necessary to 999.
Field 5 — BE: (Foreign photographers only) – The ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2 code representing the nation the photographer is from. For example, if an image was shot by a Belgian photographer, Field 5 would read BE.

Field 2. Service affiliation or status should be abbreviated as follows:

A — Army (uniformed member or civilian employee)

D — Department of Defense

F — Air Force (uniformed member or civilian employee)

G — Coast Guard (uniformed member or civilian employee)

H — Department of Homeland Security (not including Coast Guard)

M — Marine Corps (uniformed member or civilian employee)

N — Navy (uniformed member or civilian employee)

O — Other (including foreign nationals)

S — Department of State

Z — National Guard (either branch, uniformed member or civilian employee, even when on federal active duty status or deployed overseas)

The same VIRIN must be used both in the IPTC header (captioning/metadata area of the image) and as the name of the file.

Field 3: The VISION ID is used as a component of the VIRIN. All VI professionals (see below) are required to have a unique VISION ID, per Enclosure 7 of DoD Instruction 5040.02. To obtain a VISION ID, you must register via the VI Professional web site. The VISION ID is assigned to new photographers when they report to the Defense Information School (DINFOS). A DoD Common Access Card (CAC) is required for registration. A person shall only have one VISION ID, which remains valid for that person in perpetuity.

Do not make up a VISION ID, or use ZZ999, if you do not have one, nor shall a person’s VISION ID be used for another person’s work.

A VI Professional is defined as all photographers, videographers, graphic artists, photojournalists, broadcasters, public affairs and other personnel involved in the creation of official DoD imagery as part of their regular duties.