Openverse, formerly known as Creative Commons Search before it joined the WordPress project, has passed an important milestone with its support for audio files. The catalog has now indexed more than 800,000 audio files and its development team has taken audio support out of beta.
Openverse visitors can now confidently search for and explore audio files for use in their videos, podcasts, or other creative projects, all available for free use under Creative Commons licenses. It is an incredible resource that is expanding and improving every day. Users can search on any device, but I found that Openverse audio searches and files are surprisingly easy to navigate on mobile.
Search results can be filtered by permitted use, license, audio category, extension, duration, and source. Previewing works well and each file has attribution information readily available to copy. Clicking on “Get this audio” will take the visitor to the file on the external collection’s website where it can be downloaded.
Deeper integration with WordPress core is on the roadmap for Openverse files. It would also be interesting to see WordPress’ core Audio block integrate access to Openverse, in addition to pulling files from URL or the media library, the same way the Image block allows users to browse Openverse.
Gutenberg contributors are currently exploring how they can add basic Openverse integration to the inserter. Matias Ventura, lead architect of Gutenberg, has proposed adding a Media tab to the existing tabs for Blocks, Patterns, and Reusable blocks, which allow dragging and dropping content into the canvas. This would offer more convenient access to the media library while building pages.
“The inserter panel should support the ability to drag media from the inserter into the canvas, including dragging into block placeholders to quickly update patterns and such with your own content,” Ventura said. “The Media tab would allow users to choose between categorized assets from the media library, and from Openverse.”
Gutenberg engineer Nik Tsekouras created a PR with a prototype, basically a proof-of-concept, to explore how this might be implemented.
Development is still in the exploration and early stages, but this looks like a promising new integration that would make it easy for WordPress users to tap into Openverse’s catalog of 600 million free creative works.