Site-specific radiation damage on anomalously scattering sites can be used to generate additional phase information in standard single- or multi-wavelength anomalous diffraction (SAD or MAD) experiments. In this approach the data are kept unmerged, down to the Harker construction, and the evolution of site-specific radiation damage as a function of X-ray irradiation is explicitly modelled and refined in real space. Phasing power is generated through the intensity differences of symmetry-related reflections or repeated measurements of the same reflection recorded at different X-ray doses. In the present communication the fundamentals of this approach are reviewed and different models for the description of site-specific radiation damage are presented. It is shown that, in more difficult situations, overall radiation damage may unfold on a time scale that is similar to the evolution of site-specific radiation damage or to the total time that is required to record a complete data set. In such cases the quality of the phases will ultimately be limited by the effects of overall radiation damage.