If you wish to become the "owner" for an unmaintained document there are several steps you must go through.
Contact the author. Make sure the author no longer wishes to maintain the document in question. Note that the E-mail address shown may no longer be valid. In that case, try a search for the author. If the original author of a document cannot be found after a "good-faith" effort, let us know (<email@example.com>--subscription required).
Determine if a more up-to-date copy of the document exists, outside of what is available on the LDP. If so, try to secure a copy for yourself to work on.
Inform the LDP which document you would like to maintain, so that we can track who is working on what and prevent duplication of effort. We also suggest that you join the LDP general discussion list (<firstname.lastname@example.org>). This step is also required for new documents.
Submit the document to the LDP with any intended modifications. Make sure to continue to reference the original author somewhere within the document (Credits, Revision History, etc.). Once the document is re-submitted, we will remove the entry from the list of unmaintained documents.
Some of unmaintained documents may be outdated, or the content may be covered in another (actively maintained) HOWTO. If that is the situation, contact us (preferably on the discuss mailing list) and let us know.