A programme is outlined for the assembly of a comprehensive dielectronic recombination database within the generalized collisional-radiative (GCR) framework. It is valid for modelling ions of elements in dynamic finite-density plasmas such as occur in transient astrophysical plasmas such as solar flares and in the divertors and high transport regions of magnetic fusion devices. The resolution and precision of the data are tuned to spectral analysis and so are sufficient for prediction of the dielectronic recombination contributions to individual spectral line emissivities. The fundamental data are structured according to the format prescriptions of the Atomic Data and Analysis Structure ( ADAS) and the production of relevant GCR derived data for application is described and implemented following ADAS. The requirements on the dielectronic recombination database are reviewed and the new data are placed in context and evaluated with respect to older and more approximate treatments. Illustrative results validate the new high-resolution zero-density dielectronic recombination data in comparison with measurements made in heavy-ion storage rings utilizing an electron cooler. We also exemplify the role of the dielectronic data on GCR coefficient behaviour for some representative light and medium weight elements.