WP Briefing: Openverse & Photo Directory Rewind

Comments Off on WP Briefing: Openverse & Photo Directory Rewind    November 27, 2023 12:00

WordPress Executive Director, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, returns to a recent episode of the WordPress Briefing, which discussed two resources for openly licensed media in the WordPress project– Openverse and Photo Directory– and how they differ from one another!

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@WordPress.org, either written or as a voice recording.


Host: Josepha Haden Chomphosy
Editor: Dustin Hartzler
Logo: Javier Arce
Production: Brett McSherry
Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

Show Notes


[00:00:00] Josepha: Hello everyone. And welcome to the WordPress Briefing. The podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks.

I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go.

[00:00:28] (Intro music)

[00:00:40] Josepha: Today, we’re going to take a listen to last year’s episode about Openverse and the Photo Directory. A lot has changed in that project, well in, in both of those projects since then. For instance, the Photo Directory just passed a 10,000 photo milestone. And Openverse, in the past year, got their own URL and have been hard at work strengthening the reliability of their APIs.

[00:01:03] Josepha: But for some folks, it might still be a little unclear just what the difference is between these two projects. So let’s take a listen, and don’t forget to catch the updated small list of big things at the end of the episode. 

[00:01:13] (Music interlude)

[00:01:21] Josepha: About 18 months ago, the Openverse project became part of the WordPress open source project, and at roughly the same time, we also welcomed in the Photo Directory.

Since that time, we’ve seen growth of teams supporting both of these initiatives. But if you’re not involved in the day-to-day, it can be hard to know how those two things fit together or if they fit together at all.

[00:01:41] Josepha: Today, let’s take a brief tour of those two projects and why they came to be. In my timeline, work on the Photo Directory started before the work on Openverse, so that’s where we’ll start.

For as long as I can remember, the WordPress community has raised the need for WordPress-first ways to have and host GPL-compatible photos for use in themes, site builds, and marketing efforts as a whole. As recently as 2016, that was still coming up as a question at various flagship events and among the career photographers that contribute their time to WordPress.

[00:02:13] Josepha: So, in 2017 and 2018, as attention started to turn toward rebuilding the CMS using blocks, it dropped down the list of priority items. But it never really went away as a thing that people were hoping we could do for the project as a whole. So in 2019, it was becoming clear that having open source-first tools of all varieties for people whose businesses were built on our software would help broaden the availability of the open source freedoms we believe in.

This began the work on the Photo Directory with the intention of providing a GPL-friendly, community-driven repository of images. It has since launched, and we have photos in it now. We have a whole team around it. It’s wonderful. But that is how that all kind of came to be. 

[00:02:58] Josepha: Openverse, on the other hand, was launched as CC Search in 2019 with the laudable mandate to increase the discoverability and accessibility of open access media.

Late in 2020, while work on the Photo Directory was underway, Matt shared with me that the team was looking for a new project home. When I first met with them, they shared an overview of the product, which they shorthanded as an open source search engine that searches openly licensed images. We were working on a repo of openly licensed images, so clearly, this was all written in the stars. And so you might be asking yourself at this point, great, how does it work together?

I think for most of us, the timeline there kind of covers the question of what is the difference between these two things. 

But because I never know which of you will want to strike up a conversation about open source on an elevator, I’ve also got the elevator pitch version as well. 

[00:03:52] Josepha: Openverse is an open source search engine that searches, indexes, and aggregates copy left media from across the web using sources such as WordPress’s Photo Directory, Flickr’s CC Tagged Media, and Wikimedia, to name just a few. 

Another key difference between the Photo Directory and Openverse is that in order to contribute to the Photo Directory, now that it’s all built, that’s mostly done by submitting photos or reviewing photos. So, you don’t really need to be a developer to join in. 

Openverse not only is a developer-centric contribution opportunity, but it also uses a different tech stack than WordPress as a whole. So, it’s a good place for folks to go if they’re looking to broaden their horizons.

[00:04:37] Josepha: So that’s your elevator pitch of what is Openverse and how does it use the Photo Directory. 

You have a couple of ways that you can get involved with these two projects. For the Photo Directory, as I mentioned at the start, you can always contribute photos, and they could always use more photo contributions.

I’ll include a link to the submission guidelines in the show notes below, and as I mentioned, it is a no-code way to give back to the WordPress project. So, no code is required, no development environments, no testing skills. The Photo Directory team also could always use more contributors to help with the moderating of photo submissions.

And so I’ll link to their making WordPress page in the show notes as well so that you can get started there. 

[00:05:22] Josepha: And as I mentioned before, Openverse is an aggregator, so it doesn’t host any media itself, but it is always accepting suggestions for new GPL-compatible media providers. I’ll link the area where you can leave suggestions in the show notes as well.

And if you are more code-inclined, there’s an open issue for adding Openverse browsing to the block editor right now.  

So I’ll link that issue in the show notes in case you thought to yourself, gosh, that sounds like my most favorite thing to do. That is where you can go. 

[00:05:53] (Music interlude) 

[00:06:01] Josepha: And that brings us now to our November 2023 small list of big things.

[00:06:07] Josepha: The first thing that’s on the small list of big things this week is that the countdown is on for this year’s State of the Word. If you missed the initial announcement a few weeks ago, you’ll want to mark your calendars for December 11th, 2023. State of the Word will include a Q&A session, and if you want to participate, you can send your question to ask-matt@wordcamp.org. Or, ask during the event via the Q&A app Slido. A QR code for your submission will be provided during the event live stream, so if you’re choosing that option, don’t worry; there’s not anything to do right this second. 

[00:06:40] Josepha: The second thing on the list is that WordCamp Asia has extended their call for sponsors for the conference that is slated to take place in Taipei, Taiwan, March 7th through 9th, 2024. The new deadline has been extended to November 30th, 2023, and so if you have been on the fence about whether to sponsor that event or not, for one, please do sponsor it, and for two, you still have a little bit of time to get over there and show your support.

[00:07:05] Josepha: And then the last thing on the small list of big things is that the documentation team now has a new GitHub repo created for end-user documentation and its translations into all locales. For more information about this, come check out the show notes. I will have a link right there for you. And that, my friends, is your small list of big things.

[00:07:26] Josepha: Don’t forget to follow us on your favorite podcast app or subscribe directly on WordPress.org/news. You’ll get a friendly reminder whenever there’s a new episode. If you liked what you heard today, share it with a fellow WordPresser. Or, if you have questions about what you heard, you can share those with me at wpbriefing@WordPress.org. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Thanks for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks. 

[00:07:51] (Music outro)

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