Get Into the Openverse for finding CC Licensed Images and Audio

Everybody has their favorite source (or a curated list of them) for finding openly licensed media and we’ve been talking for a while here about Openverse which is the evolution of the Creative Commons CC Search that was adopted and now operated by WordPress.

Until today, the site was run under a WordPress banner and URL, but behold, the Openverse is its own entity at


Why is this important? Beyond being a searchable tool of over 600 million images and audio, you can be confident that each item is licensed under a Creative Commons license. And for every result you find, Openverse offers a readily used cut and paste attribution statement.

Learn more about Openverse and the different sources it indexes and draws from. If you previously listed/linked to the Creative Commons search at then see what happens, you are covered.

Before you start just tossing search terms in (well go ahead and do that), its worth noting the special power search tools you can wield as well.

So I can start away by searching on “dogs playing”

Pay attention to the filters on the right. From the first result, you can filter by different licenses (e.g. find ones you can modify, so it removes results that are licensed no derivates.

Next, from my dogs playing, I want to focus on just images Nice. Now I have more filters available.

I might limit it to Photographs that are wide (landscape orientation) and available in larger sizes

Or I can limit it to specific sources, so dogs playing from Eurpoena, the Met, and the New York Public Library,met,nypl

This is a lot of flexibility! What do I get with results?

I might look at this Japanese painting of Courtesan and Attendant Playing with a Dog. The Openverse entry provides the link to the source of the image (so I can download it from the Met, and see more information too).

But more valuable, there the license is made very clear and I have different options for copy a well formed attribution statement (bottom right corner)

While Openverse is not the end all be all, to me, for being perfectly clear on licensing, its pretty much the cat’s pajamas :wink:

It even is available with WordPress as a way to find and use images that automatically adds it to your site’s media library and adds the attribution as a caption-- see

I’ve been hanging around with the Openverse developers in their Slack and they have been most helpful on asking questions and feedback.

Are you using Openverse? Have you tried it? Isn’t this of immense value to finding openly licensed media? Or is it worth adding to your toolbox?

Maybe it’s dog’s pajamas!

Via @NateAngell there is a Creative Commons post on Openverse as well (like the proud parents of what they gave birth to!)

If you use WordPress get ready for a release soon of version 6.2 where Openverse will be directly available inside the editor as an option to add images (see beta release notes).

This means you can search for images within WordPress, and have them added directly to your post/library with full attribution in the caption.

This has been available to users of the Jetpack plugin but when this new version of WordPress is released, it is now built into the main core platform.

See a preview of how Openverse will work within WordPress (though the use of “stock photos” on this site is a bit off to me, Openverse provides search on images and audio that are all explicitly licensed under Creative Commons)

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Catch the recording of the OEWeek Live! session we did Wednesday for Open Education Week where we had with us Zack Krida from Openverse

and note that you can give it a good test by taking our Openverse Challenge

Very useful. Thanks for sharing