The field of magnetooptics is reviewed and the application of a magnetic memory system as a readout technique is discussed. A review and comparison of the fundamental magneto-optic effects and their utility in a system is presented. It is shown for a longitudinal Kerr readout system that laser and shot noise limit wide-band (1 MHz) signal-to-noise ratios to about 40 dB. Media noise problems are reviewed. The limitations to packing density are discussed, and it is concluded that packing densities greater than 107bit/in2(including suitable guardbands) are practical. The various techniques for optico-thermal recording are surveyed. A discussion of related hardware components (such as optical modulators and lasers) is presented. It is concluded that a viable magnetooptic detection-laser beam memory system is practical. No suitable nonmechanical scanning system has yet been developed.