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Optical techniques for data storage have advanced rapidly during the last decade. Optical data storage presents many unique advantages, notably the high storage density and low access time, not attainable by conventional recording techniques. The special features of optical recording, the proposed materials and techniques, the components for optical storage as well as some representative optical bit-by-bit and holographic recording systems are reviewed. It is noted that in spite of the lack of widespread commercial success of the optical recording at the present, some unique devices have been successfully demonstrated. The knowledge accumulated in the development of optical data storage should be useful for many recent Applications such as video recording. It is expected that when the conventional magnetic memory technology reaches its limit, optical storage technology should be a competitive contender for the next generation data storage.