How to Create a VIRIN

The Visual Information Record Identification Number (VIRIN) uniquely identifies every piece of Visual Information created by DoD photographers, and is a crucial component of the DoD Visual Information archiving system.

  • A VIRIN is required on all Visual Information files sent to DVIDS or Joint Combat Camera Center for archiving.
  • All VIRINs use four fields of information: the date the image was shot, the Service of the photographer, an identification of the photographer, and a sequence number.
    *A fifth field is used by foreign photographers.
  • The same VIRIN must be used both in the IPTC header (captioning/metadata area of the image) and as the name of the file.



VIRIN Components

Field 1 — 180515: Date the image was shot (YYMMDD format)

Field 2 — A: The Service affiliation or status of the acquirer or originator (see the codes listed below):

A — Army (uniformed member or civilian/contract employee)

D — Department of Defense

F— Air Force (uniformed member or civilian/contract employee)

G — Coast Guard (uniformed member or civilian/contract employee)

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

M — Marine Corps (uniformed member or civilian/contract employee)

N — Navy (uniformed member or civilian/contract employee)

O — Other (including foreign nationals)

S — Department of State

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


Field 3 — AA987: VISION ID (personal) or DVIAN (unit).

  • Do not enter an unassigned or made-up VISION ID or DVIAN.
  • “ZZ999” is no longer accepted as a VISION ID.

  • Do not use another person’s VISION ID for your work.

  • Need a VISION ID? Inquire here.

  • Need a DVIAN? Contact DVI Customer Service.

Field 4 (four digits) — 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.

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