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A VIRIN (Visual Information Record Identification Number) is a unique identifier assigned by the United States Department of Defense to official still photographs, motion picture footage, video recordings, and audio recordings made by USDOD personnel as part of their regular duties. A USDOD photograph can be located via its VIRIN, even if the original WWW site from which it was obtained has since suffered from link rot.

Per Commons:File naming, there should be a meaningful name (e.g. "Apache 30 mm M230 cannon"), rather than just the ID (" photo essay 030910-A-XXXXX-7857.jpg").

The {{ID-USMil}} template can be used to mark any VIRINs in a file's description or source information. A full ingestion template {{milim}} has a number of specific fields for DoD collections.

Number structure[edit]

VIRINs are given in four separate fields separated by dashes. The fields are in this order:

Field Example Description
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 ZZ999 VISION ID
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. If you take more than 999 photos during one shoot in one day, you need to rethink your strategy.

Field 2, the service affiliation or status is abbreviated as follows:

Code Recommended license Description
A {{PD-USGov-Military-Army}} Army (uniformed member or civilian employee)
D {{PD-USGov-Military}} Department of Defense
F {{PD-USGov-Military-Air Force}} Air Force (uniformed member or civilian employee)
G {{PD-USCG}} Coast Guard (uniformed member or civilian employee)
H {{PD-USGov-DHS}} Department of Homeland Security (not including Coast Guard)
M {{PD-USGov-Military-Marines}} Marine Corps (uniformed member or civilian employee)
N {{PD-USGov-Military-Navy}} Navy (uniformed member or civilian employee)
O Case by case, public domain may be contested Other (including foreign nationals)
P {{PD-USGov-POTUS}} Executive Office of the President
S {{PD-USGov-DOS}} Department of State
X {{PD-USGov-Military-Space Force}} Space Force (uniformed member or civilian employee)
Z {{PD-USGov-Military-National Guard}} National Guard (either branch, uniformed member or civilian employee, even when on federal active duty status or deployed overseas)

Further reading[edit]