Real-time data storage and processing using optical techniques have been considered in recent years. Of particular interest are photosensitive electro-optic crystals which permit volume storage in the form of phase holograms, by means of a charge transfer process. A survey of the state of the art of such holographic memories is presented. The physical mechanism responsible for the formation of phase holograms in such crystals is discussed. Attention is focused on various aspects of materials characterization, development and utilization. Experimental reversible holographic read-write memory systems with fast random access and high storage capacity employing this new class of photosensiitive materials have already been demonstrated.