Everything You Need to Know About Openverse and the WordPress Photo Directory

A screenshot of the redesigned Openverse homepage, with images from a search for 'Olympic games' of athletes from many decades and backgrounds.
The redesigned wordpress.org/openverse homepage

When we announced that Openverse had joined WordPress earlier last year, we were thrilled about the exciting changes coming to the platform. Many of those updates are here.

Openverse, previously known as CC Search, is a search engine for openly licensed media. The index, which joined WordPress in mid-2021, has over 600 million Creative Commons licensed and public domain image and audio files. All files can be used free of charge.

 OpenverseOpenverse Openverse is a search engine for openly-licensed media, including images and audio. Find Openverse on GitHub and at https://openverse.org. has several new features, including:

  • A redesigned interface: Openverse has a new brand identity and user interface optimized for usability. Find the images and audio files you’re looking for and filterFilter Filters are one of the two types of Hooks https://codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_API/Hooks. They provide a way for functions to modify data of other functions. They are the counterpart to Actions. Unlike Actions, filters are meant to work in an isolated manner, and should never have side effects such as affecting global variables and output. results by license, source, and many other options.
  • Internationalization: Openverse is fully translated in 12 languages, with additional partial translations in other languages. We encourage anyone in the community to submit translations in their own languages.
  • Audio support: Openverse now includes songs, podcasts, samples, and other audio files from FreeSound, Wikimedia Commons, and Jamendo.
  • New image providers: The Openverse team has added two new sources of high-quality photographs, the WordPress Photo Directory and StockSnap. In addition, photo libraries such as EDUimages and Images of Empowerment are now available from Meta Search.

The Openverse project is part of the WordPress community and welcomes contributions from those who want to help it become the best openly licensed media search engine on the internet. The WordPress Photo Directory provides such an opportunity. 

What’s the WordPress Photo Directory?

The WordPress Photo Directory is both a new curated source of free, high-quality photographs and a new submission tool for Openverse, powered by the WordPress community. Without it, you’d need to use Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, or other sources to submit your work to Openverse.

The WordPress Photo Directory aims to be a trusted place for the community to create, share, discover, and reuse free and openly licensed media. All photos in the WordPress Photo Directory images are licensed with the CC0 public domain tool.

The WordPress Photo Directory welcomes contributions in different forms. One of the best ways to get involved is by submitting your photos:

  • Anyone with a wordpress.org account can submit their work to the photo directory. All submissions must meet these guidelines to ensure the quality of content. 
  • Photos will also be categorized and tagged to facilitate searching. Once a submission gets approved, it will be automatically added to the WordPress Photo Directory and the Openverse search engine.

You can also report issues with the directory, or become a photo directory moderator.

It is worth noting that Openverse and the WordPress Photo Directory are separate and independent projects. However, they are complementary in that the images from the directory are discoverable via the Openverse search. All WordPress Photo Directory images can be viewed in Openverse.

Where can you learn more about Openverse?

The Make Openverse blog is one of the best ways to follow along with the project. Feel free to reach out to any Openverse contributors on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. #openverse, GitHub, or any other channel to learn more about the project. If you are interested in contributing code to Openverse, look at our good first issues or our guide for new contributors.

We hope you are as excited as we are about Openverse, and we look forward to your contributions!

Happy searching!

Thanks to @rmartinezduque @anjanavasan @callye @zackkrida @angelasjin for their work on this post.

#media, #openverse, #photos