Microsoft’s gallery had an aesthetic, to be sure, and it wasn’t high art. But these images, cheesy as they are, were also incredibly useful in their time. It wasn’t easy to quickly find images in the dial-up age, and an entire industry of CD-ROMs you could buy for $50+ tried to fill that niche. You could buy those, or you could stick with what you already had: Microsoft’s clip art.
This applies more to teachers than to anyone else, but clip art (especially black line clip art) can´t be beat when it comes to using images that are going to be photocopied. It creates a much cleaner look than a photo. While there is much talk of going digital, the reality is that most of the world still is using paper for teaching . . . and a lot of it, not because we aren´t open to the digital world, but many times not all students have access.
As an artist I resent some people's assumption that original art from my abilities and imagination, which I have sacrificed a lot to develop, should somehow default to public property. If we require artists to participate in a money economy their art belongs to them. Copying images and not following the copyright owners permissions to the letter is stealing, outright. And deep pockets like Disney has taught individuals that the hard way.
It’s not hard to find images to use online – just use an image search. This works well, but it’s worth noting that doing so isn’t necessarily legal. Most of the images you can find this way are owned by their original creators. This likely doesn’t matter if you’re only using something for private use, or even a school assignment, but if you intend to publish a work you need to make sure all rights are cleared.
My school district doesn't allow students to access anything except Google; therefore, clipart is useless. More and more school districts and companies are blocking applications and websites to prevent access to inappropriate images and content. My first and second graders have always loved doing PowerPoints; however, with clipart no longer working, they cannot do these projects any longer. Older students access Google images to get graphics for their projects.