Recap: Openverse in 2023

As 2023 comes to a close, I wanted to take some time to reflect on all that was accomplished in the last year! The below list isn’t exhaustive by any means, but it’s still lovely to look back at how OpenverseOpenverse Openverse is a search engine for openly-licensed media, including images and audio. Find Openverse on GitHub and at and the community have changed in the last cycle around the sun.


Switched the repositories to a monorepo

We moved from the repositories openverse-api, openverse-frontend, and openverse-catalog to just openverse.

Moved to

This came along with several other improvements to the frontend:

Provider DAG stability

Early in the year, maintainers and community members undertook an effort to try and stabilize our existing provider DAGs and ensure they could all run consistently and without failures. This also included new ways for reporting and addressing failures internally.

Core user interface improvements

We set aside time to align the frontend components with the intended designs for each component.

API ECS Migration

We changed the way the Openverse APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways. is deployedDeploy Launching code from a local development environment to the production web server, so that it's available to visitors. in order to make it easier for maintainers to deployDeploy Launching code from a local development environment to the production web server, so that it's available to visitors. new versions. What was previously 1-hour (or longer) deployment process involving two maintainers is now an automatic process that occurs at the click of a button!

Along with this change, we had a few other significant infrastructure improvements throughout the year:

Usage Analytics

In order to gain a better understanding of how folks are using Openverse, we implemented event analytics in the frontend. This included the addition of numerous user events, an effort which was assisted by several new contributors!

Popularity calculation optimizations

We modified how popularity for certain results is calculated behind-the-scenes, in an effort to simplify the process and reduce the time it takes for results that get added to the catalog to become available in searches. This trimmed hours off of a weekly data refresh process and reduced the number of errors that we saw with the refresh.

Filter and blur sensitive results by term matching

We posted about this new feature earlier this year:

API response time assessment and reduction

In the final third of 2023, Openverse experienced increase response times for searches across the board. The cause of this was ultimately the increase in both users and data available within our catalog – both great advancements! After several months of hard work, the maintainers were able to pin down a primary source for the slowness and significantly reduce how long it takes to run a search.


In addition to the technical accomplishments from this last year, Openverse also had an impact on (and was impacted by!) the community.

New committers

Formalized the project planning process

The maintainers spent time in the first half of the year defining a process for how projects themselves would be planned, with the intent to make that planning transparent and available to the community. The motivation behind the decision-making process can be seen on our documentation site, as well as the specifics around how projects are planned. The documentation for each of the projects is also available on the site.

Collaboration with providers

Several of the Openverse maintainers met with one of our providers, the Statens Museum for Kunst.

Open Education Global – Infrastructure Award

Openverse was honored to receive the award for Open Infrastructure from OEG earlier this year.

By the numbers

Consider this the “Openverse Wrapped”! Here’s some numbers for the end of 2023:

See you in 2024!

Lighttrail Rocket” by SpaceX/ CC0 1.0

#2023, #yearly-planning #2023