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> a) Adding metadata to the header of an HTML or XML document
>
> b) Taking an information object (the target information) and
> 'wrapping' it in a zip or tar file, along with the metadata
>
> c) Creating a link from the metadata record to the target
> object, such that the object is access via the record and is in
> that sense (conceptually) wrapped by the metadata.
>

I'd say that METS answers to the descriptions provided in
b and c above.  You can use it to package up an object,
much like a tar file, by Base 64 encoding the data files
for an object and then wrapping them in a single METS
file using the FContent element.  You can also have
METS just define the object structure (and related
descriptive and administrative metadata), and have
it point to data files leaving elsewhere (using FLocat).

Most of the example files at the METS website are of
the 'point to data files' variety, as base 64 encoding
a data file and wrapping it in METS tends to give
you one humongous METS file (humongous being the technical
term for XML files you don't want to have to read).
But it's certainly possible to do.

Jerry